USB 3 card not working in Win 2003 SP1 server.

I understand your own frustrations with Renesas, but it doesn’t help mine, much–many devices claiming to support “USB 3.0” support at best XHCI 0.95, I’m finding: not at all the same thing.

Unfortunately, Windows 8 doesn’t help for several reasons:

  1. I use these products under Linux, too. I can’t keep yanking PCIe cards out of Linux machines just to update them under Windows–and Windows 8 has nothing to do with the constant firmware upgrade march on these controllers.

  2. I won’t be using Windows 8.

  3. If it did help, it looks like it’s 16 mos. out or more.

  4. If it were only two mos. out, that still wouldn’t be today.

To misquote Yogi Berra, it’s like USB 2.0 all over again. (I clearly remember the massive headaches getting properly updated NEC USB 2.0 drivers installed and maintained under Windows 2000. At least no one that I recall released USB 2.0 devices that weren’t, actually.)

I’d be looking forward to Light Peak if: 1) I thought it would solve any of these problems; 2) it were compatible with USB 3.0 in any way; 3) I could expect to buy cables for (a lot!) less than USD$50; 4) Intel hadn’t already jerked us all around by speccing USB 3.0, then abandoning it, then picking it up again (Ivy Bridge chipsets, 2012).

Note that Linux also has very good support for USB 3.0 and the Renesas chipset built-in. Support has been there since kernel 2.6.35 or so (and in kernels 3.0+ it appears quite solid).

We provide samples of our hardware, including our Plugable brand USB 3.0 host controllers, to Linux developers (…). This has been great, as we’ve been able to insure that our boards are as well tested or better than any out there.


Many thanks for supporting Linux developers! I’m sure they appreciate it, and I know I do. I’m aware that USB support on Linux is generally excellent—far better than Windows, in fact, when it comes to having obscure drivers available—and I do track the main tree changelog, so I can see actual Intel kernel / hardware engineers contributing code. :slight_smile:

That still leaves a problem, though: there’s no way to upgrade firmware on Renesas or VIA ASICs under Linux that I’m aware of. If I’m wrong, please point me to download sources for these utilities.

If I’m not wrong, I could use help getting the Renesas and VIA utilities working in a WinPE environment; in some mode that will cache WinPE to a ramdisk, so that the USB boot device and other infrastructure can be detached for upgrade while WinPE is booted.

Given that it’s theoretically possible to boot Windows inside a VM on Linux and use PCI[e] and/or USB pass-thru to perform upgrades: three problems: 1) no XHCI support in VirtualBox nor VMWare that I know of; 2) PCI[e] pass-thru is rather new; may risk bricking a controller; 3) among other hosts, I do operate “embedded” systems with 0.5-1GiB RAM, and no way to reasonably host a fat Windows VM.

Can I ask how your experience with Vantec has been, overall? I’ve run into a variety of problems (unrelated to Plugable product—sorry to go slightly OT). They include failing fans and dying power/logic boards… and, in the case of eSATA, I have a “second generation” Vantec eSATA/USB2 2.5in enclosure that falls offline (in SATA mode: eek!) if it’s left on for a few hours (variable).

Are there any other vendors you’d recommend? I’m experimenting with a 3.5in USB2/eSATA Thermaltake enclosure that’s behaving so far.

@Bernie: I’m still learning about underlying architecture in USB (esp. 3.0). Is this down to something along the lines of having extra transaction translators to avoid UHCI/EHCI mixing and matching dragging the bus down to UHCI speeds?

PS: I really appreciate the fast responses y’all have been providing. I will definitely consider Plugable first for all of my USB needs in future. Heck, I was impressed when I saw that your hubs ship with >= 3A power bricks.

PPS: Can’t resist asking: now that I’m the proud new owner of one of your VIA USB 3 hub products… what’s the latest firmware? :wink: I found/installed/ran the updater linked from your blog.

PPPS: Are the drivers and firmware not going up directly on the support page due to those bizarre developer contract things that Broadcom/VIA/other are fond of forcing on final-tier vendors?

Thanks Rececca. You’re right about the firmware upgrades - the utilities provided by the chipmakers for firmware updates are Windows-only.

It sounds like the simplest thing, given what you’re describing, might be to find another Windows-based machine, do the upgrade there, then move the card back to the Linux machine.

That said, at least for Plugable’s Renesas chipset based products, there aren’t any big features or fixes in the firmware versions newer than what we’ve shipped (all the important stuff has been in driver updates). So unless there’s a specific fix you’ve identified, I would actually just stay at the firmware level you’re at.

Hope this helps. Thanks again!

Only have experience with the external USB2 and USB3 enclosures. Never had a problems, as there are no fans. The USB3 has been on and in use for several months now. Occasionaly, the external device is not recognized after being ejected, and then reconnected immediately.

Um. The simplest thing is *not* powering down and disassembling a working machine, porting an expansion card, installing drivers on another machine, upgrading firmware, and moving the card back to the original host. :smiley:

Re: firmware: from years of experience, I’ve found that ODM/OEMs tend to slip certain things (fixes) into firmware without bothering to notify anyone.

I can’t recall the last time I actually saw “Included latest Intel CPU microcode” in mainboard BIOS release notes, yet somehow they tend to end up in newer BIOSes. :wink:

(And considering what microcode updates fix, I’d call those decidedly crucial…)