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USB 3.0 problem with Asus mobo and Fractal Design case


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#1 toomuchpie

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 02:22 PM

I've had this problem for the longest time but I gave up on it after Asus tech support told me where to shove it. Even if I can't fix it, I'd like to know if anyone else has experienced this and where the actual problem lies. I'm just going to copy and paste most of the problem description.

 

Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V

Case: Fractal Design Arc Midi R2

 

There is something wrong with the internal (Intel) USB 3.0 header when plugging inthe cable from my Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 case. When I plug in a certain USB 2.0 thumb drive through there, it freezes in Windows. When plugging in a different drive (external HDD, USB 2.0), it is able to read from the external hard drive, but writing a (large) file to it fails. Both the AsMedia and Intel USB 3.0 ports at the back panel of the motherboard work fine.

 

I have tried installing the latest USB 3.0 drivers from both the Asus's support page,as well as the later ones from Intel. Neither fixed the problem. The problem also exists outside of Windows. Although the USB drive will be detected, trying to read from it (i.e. by booting Linux from it) results in read errors.

 

I used a different USB 3.0 cable (http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/products/accessories/internal-usb3-adapter), to test it and it worked perfectly, so I thought the problem was the cable. I contacted Fractal Design and got a second USB 3.0 cable from them, but it was the same. Later on, I even got one more cable from them, but the problem still persisted. I had a friend test one of the Fractal Design cables, along with one of my USB drives with his motherboard (also an Asus, but different board) and it worked perfectly for him.

 

As per Asus's troubleshooting instructions (they claimed it was needed to pass the case to the relevant department), I have tried disabling the Legacy USB 3.0 support int he BIOS. I also removed the board from the case, and connected the USB 3.0 cable from Fractal Design to the onboard USB 3.0 connector on my motherboard. It was a pain to do and the results were still the same. At that point, Asus replied (without ever sending me to the "relevant department"):

 

"Currently it seems that the usb 3.0 cable of the Fractal Design case have some compatibile issues with some usb 3.0 devices.

So if possible, I suggest you to have a further check with the Fractal for a try."

 

So really, at this point, I've lost all hope to have a working USB 3.0 port at the front of my case with this setup. I'm just very curious about Asus's claim. Does anyone have the same or very similar setup (i.e. a P8Z77-V variant motherboard and Arc Midi R2 case) and have a working USB 3.0 port through the case's USB cable, plugged into the USB 3.0 header of the mobo?

 

BTW, I do not have a USB 3.0 device to test it out with. Also, my friend's mobo was an Asus Z9PE-D8 WS.



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#2 zingo156

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 08:15 AM


 

I used a different USB 3.0 cable (http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/products/accessories/internal-usb3-adapter), to test it and it worked perfectly, so I thought the problem was the cable. I contacted Fractal Design and got a second USB 3.0 cable from them, but it was the same. Later on, I even got one more cable from them, but the problem still persisted. I had a friend test one of the Fractal Design cables, along with one of my USB drives with his motherboard (also an Asus, but different board) and it worked perfectly for him.

 

Because of this I have to agree with asus that possibly there is an issue with the fractal cable or the physical front ports themselves. Have you visually inspected the front usb ports for damaged, bent, or shorting pins?

 

Is there any way to get a look at the wiring for that cable as in what color wire goes where on both ends? A pinout of the fractal design cable would help. I'll look around.

 

I have never heard of this happening so it will be a learning experience for me as well if it is not related to damaged usb ports.


Edited by zingo156, 04 September 2014 - 08:22 AM.

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#3 zingo156

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 08:21 AM

Did you try both of these devices in all of the rear ports as well as the front?

 

"When I plug in a certain USB 2.0 thumb drive through there, it freezes in Windows. When plugging in a different drive (external HDD, USB 2.0), it is able to read from the external hard drive, but writing a (large) file to it fails."


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#4 toomuchpie

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 10:38 AM

Hello zingo156,

 

I have tried those USB devices on all the USB 3.0 ports in the front and the rear, as I stated in my opening post. The ports in the back work 100% fine - both the Intel and ASMedia controllers. I am also quite certain there is no damage on the USB 3.0 cables that Fractal Design sent me. After all, I have 3 of them in total, and it would be highly unlikely that all 3 are damaged, and in the same fashion that causes it to have the exact same symptoms. And yes, I have visually inspected them and I did not see any damage. However, I'm not an expert so I might miss it even if there were damage. Lastly, I also stated that I gave one of those Fractal Design USB 3.0 cables, and one of my problematic (actually, the most problematic) USB drives to my friend to see if the problem could be reproduced. There was no problem with the cable on my friend's motherboard. It was able to recognize the drive right away, which was already a big improvement to my experience of Windows freezing up for a minute or 2 and not recognizing the drive. Also, he was able to write big files on it with no issues, which was a problem my other drive that was actually recognized had. I never got as far as being able to write on the drive I asked him to test with though.



#5 zingo156

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 11:56 AM

Thanks for he clarification. Is the fractal cable connected directly to the front usb ports or are the physical ports a different part as in does the repalcement cable replace the front ports or does it plug into the same front ports? Can you take a picture of the front usb ports and cable and post it here? Also did you test those devices on ALL rear usb ports including the 2.0 ports? 

 

A few questions, is this a custom build? Did you use case standouts between the case and motherboard when building it? Example of standout or standoff: http://www.computerhope.com/jargon/s/standout.htm

 

I can't imagine an incompatibility issue since usb 2.0 and 3.0 are standardized (except when HP or Dell or other manufactures use proprietary connections).


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#6 toomuchpie

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 02:16 PM

This picture will answer your questions!

21ugqv.jpg

 

I have tested my USB devices on the USB 2.0 ports on the back as well, though I'm not sure if I've tried all of them. But at any rate, there's nothing wrong with them. They worked on all computers i previously owned, currently own, and my friend/family computers when it was plugged into their computers. The only time they're problematic is using the Fractal Design USB 3.0 cables on this specific Asus P8Z77-V motherboard.

 

And I'm going to mention this now, since I think it will come up. No, I did not plug the Fractal Design cable into both the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 headers on the motherboard at the same time. I'm pretty sure it's designed so that it's not possible to reach both headers at the same time. I am currently, and have been using only the USB 2.0 headers to plug in the case cable, so that I have functional USB ports at the front of my case. Oh, and the Bitfenix USB 3.0 cable that I bought for testing does not have that extra USB 2.0 connector as a backup.

 

And yes, it is a custom build, and I did use the case standouts (thanks for the new jargon) when building it.



#7 zingo156

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 02:45 PM

A picture is worth a thousand words, thanks. You'd be suprised how many builders forget to put standouts in and short out their boards to some extent... At least first time builders so it is always worth asking.

 

Did you mean only trying 3.0 here: "I am currently, and have been using only the USB 2.0 headers to plug in the case cable, so that I have functional USB ports at the front of my case."

 

I would recommend trying both connections (not at the same time) but at least that might give you usb front ports to use even if they are only 2.0.

 

As to why this is happening I am completely baffled, since a different cable works fine, it leads me to believe that there is some incompatibility with that Fractal cable and your motherboard.

 

I would say there are only a few options left: get a 5.25inch usb 3.0 drive bay, replace the case with something else, replace the motherboard with something else (you may get another compatibility problem),  use the cable that you ordered that worked and "jerry rig" it to the front, or try to use the ports as 2.0 only.

 

Example of the 3.0 drive bays, there may be better options than this particular 5.25 bay but it was the first I saw (this one also has sd card slots etc) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811992010


Edited by zingo156, 04 September 2014 - 02:57 PM.

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#8 toomuchpie

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 03:16 PM

Thanks for suggestions, zingo156. I have considered doing something like that before, but I lack any more bays at the front. And I feel like using a PCIe slot to add a header, or jerry rigging the usb 3.0 is too messy. I know I won't see it unless if I'm looking inside my case, but let's call it an OCD thing - it just bothers me. I may eventually cave in and do it, or replace one of my front panel bays with one like you suggested at some later date.

 

For now, I'm just hoping for someone with a similar motherboard and case to post about their USB 3.0 results, whether it be positive or negative. It would get me somewhere at least.

 

BTW, I contacted Fractal again, asking if this was indeed a known compatibility issue, and they said they hadn't heard of it. Oh, and I strongly recommend Fractal Design, for anyone buying a case. Their support is top notch - very willing to help you with any issues and send you replacement parts.



#9 zingo156

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 03:48 PM

I found a thread you may be interested in: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/319429-30-asus-p8z77-front-panel-issue

 

The solution they posted was:

 

"The problem is solved now. The culprit was the unusual Bitfenix Shinobi Window case USB 3.0 cable, and not a Z77 MoBo issue (as discussed in this interesting thread: http://communities.intel.com/message/157911 ), which I feared the most.

Just in summery, to get both USB 3.0 & backward USB 2.0 compatibility of Bitfenix Shinobi USB 3.0 ports, the cable should be connected to MoBo's both USB 3.0 header & USB 2.0 header. I just had connected it to USB 3.0 header, and all the devices that I tested on it were USB 2.0, which they were not recognized. But, when I bought a USB 3.0 flash driver, it could be recognized on those front panel ports."


Edited by zingo156, 04 September 2014 - 03:48 PM.

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#10 toomuchpie

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 04:21 PM

I believe I have seen that before. When I tried to connect both the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connectors on the cable, I realized the cable was too short to reach both headers. Not only that, but it actually tells you not to plug both in on the cable itself, I believe. I would have tried it despite that warning, but the length of the cable's connectors really didn't allow it to reach both headers.



#11 langr

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 04:24 PM

Interesting. Just found this thread. I have a Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 with an ASUS M5 A97 R2.0 motherboard with the same symptoms: plugging ANY (2.0 or 3.0) USB device in the top USB 3.0 ports freezes the machine. MB was installed with the supplied standoffs. If the machine is started with a USB device already attached to the port, it is usually recognized and can be used - it's only when the system is already up and running and a device is plugged into either port that it freezes. Have not contacted FD, yet, but figure that will be the next step if no solutions are apparent. (Will also check out the thread mentioned by Zingo above.)

 

(and as "toomuchpie", other than the issue with the front/top ports, I'm extremely pleased with the FD case.)



#12 zingo156

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 06:26 PM

langr, you may also want to test your usb ports in Linux just in case it is a windows related issue.


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#13 langr

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 12:01 PM

Thanks for the Linux suggestion - good idea. I'll give that a try and report back.



#14 langr

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Posted 22 March 2015 - 02:26 PM

Well, I could not reproduce the problem after booting up with a Knoppix live disk. Looks like I'm gonna haveta go beat up on Windows 7. Anyone have suggestions/ideas?



#15 toomuchpie

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Posted 22 March 2015 - 04:13 PM

Not to be mean but I was hoping it'd be the same problem as mine so that I could get some confirmation that I'm not crazy :)

 

langr, have you tried installing different usb 3 drivers? I've tried a bunch of them but since our issues don't seem to be the same, maybe you can try some different ones too. Try manufacturer ones and also intel's website for USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller






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