Use broken imac as target display

Hi all, my 2011 iMac has issues with the motherboard (mainly the hdd controllers), this causes it to stay in a boot loop. (cant find startup disk, point external disk, after an hour - reboot)

before chucking it out: can I use it as a monitor for my mac mini that is running headless at the moment?
Or do I have to be logged into the imac to make that work??

I don’t know of a way to do that (not saying you can’t, but unlikely). What you might do instead is sell it for parts (odds are someone somewhere has a 2011 with a bad screen), and buy a monitor with the proceeds.

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There are 2011iMac motherboards on eBay for less than $100,