Intel's upcoming Z87 chipset has an annoying USB 3 bug

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Intel's upcoming Z87 chipset has an annoying USB 3 bug

The first wave of Z87 chipsets can lose contact with USB 3 flash drives, and a fix won't arrive until July.

According to our sources, something is rotten in the state of Intel’s upcoming Z87 chipset. It is the S3 sleep state to be precise, and the issue affects the USB3 controller in the C1 stepping version of the chipset. This is the version of the chipset that will ship with initial Haswell systems, and it is a problem that won’t be rectified until the C2 stepping ships in July.

The problem in question effects some USB flash drives, and involves the chipset ceasing to poll some drives when a Z87 system enters an S3 sleep state. This means that the USB drive does not wake back up with the system, and you need to reconnect the drive in order to continue working with it.

In practical terms this means that any applications accessing files on an effected USB drive will lose them if a PC enters an S3 state. In the case of a document, for example, you’ll need to go back to the last saved version.

Ultimately this is more of a nuisance than a potentially system destroying bug like that which called the recall of the Sandy Bridge chipsets back in 2011. But it is still going to be a major annoyance in the first wave of retail Z87 products. Such an annoying, replicable, known bug has the potential to hamper the uptake of the new Haswell CPUs when they launch and is going to cause serious headaches for manufacturers left to deal with complaints.

While we don’t expect that Intel will comment on the issue, considering that Haswell is still a few months from launch, we have reached out to them and will update the story when we hear back.

Update: In response to our enquiry, Intel has told us that "we're continually working with customers to resolve any sighting reported pre or post launch and won't comment on NDA technical work we are doing. And we're on track for launch".

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