Dell R710 & VGA

Have you just picked up a stacked Dell R710 for a bargain price, ready to build a sweet infosec lab?

You know what I mean. All the fruit. Dual Hex core Xeons, a stack of SAS disk and a huge amount of RAM?

It’s a thing of beauty! It’ll run a bunch of VMs and anything you could ever throw at it in a home environment. But, there’s only one issue. Everything seems to work, except VGA.

Did you do what I did? Did you grab a random VGA-to-HDMI cable then plug it into a HDMI-to-DVI adapter, and stick it into the closest spare LCD/TFT monitor you had handy? Then, the VGA didn’t work?

Well. It COULD be the cable, even if that same cable works on other systems!

Firstly, if your iDRAC6 Enterprise works, then your VGA works, so this is the first thing to check. This isn’t without its own set of issues in a modern environment where Java is essentially deprecated, but for that /r/homelab to the rescue again!

But, thanks to the super fine folk over at /r/homelab (who are almost entirely to blame for me buying an R710) they provided the hints needed which lead to…

Success!

It does seem that the VGA chipset is incredibly shitty and it can’t even run a basic converter to DVI, which I guess is understandable given it’s a server that doesn’t have a monitor connected for 99% of its life.

So, give that a go!