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XPS 15 laptop USB3.0 ports limited to USB2.0 speed -- No Super-speed

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February 18, 2013 10:21:16 PM

Alert! Need additional confirmation on this!

Dell Level-3 Technical Support can not explain why numerous XPS 15 (L521X) laptop USB 3.0 Super-speed ports perform at only USB 2.0 High-speed. USB 3.0 compliant devices do NOT perform at USB 3.0 Super-speed. None do.

This occur on numerous units, Dell Level 3 Technical Support says. "It's random", they say. In my expereince, bugs are not random.

Dell's "My Dell Support Center" diagnostic software confirms this, as it shows the USB version and speed, both.

It fails USB.org's USB 3.0 Command Verifyer tool tests. Found under SuperSpeed USB Software and Hardware Tools, as "USB30CV Tool". It confirms connected devices are indeed USB 3.0 compliant, BTW. It is at: (http://www.usb.org/developers/ssusb/ssusbtools/USB30CV_...)

Of interest, Dell has offered to fully refund the entire amount of my purchase to return this to them, 2 months after my purchase. Is this a serious issue? Does it remain publicly unknown? Why not provide a fix for this? Why the refund?

Can anyone else confirm, or debunk, this on another Dell XPS 15 (L521X) laptop? Yes, I know it seems highly unlikely that no one has yet to discover such a huge bug if indeed it exists -- yet it's not impossible. It is not an obvious bug to notice if one does not look for it. The fact that it has gone to Dell Tech support Level 3, and still has no resolution, speaks for itself.

This strikes me as a potentially significant bug that possibly affects numerous Dell XPS 15 laptop users. I was told Dell has sold over 400,000 XPS 15 units.

Yet, this falls outside of my area of expertise. Hence my call for expert help and independent confirmation.

A Service Request for this remains open regarding this under my name. I first diagnosed and reported this issue to Dell Technical Support on 12/29/2012. After hours of calls over several weeks this still remains unresolved and open.

The XPS 15 L521X model has three USB ports, all three advertised as USB 3.0 compliant Super-speed ports. It has no other USB ports besides these. It has no USB 2.0 ports.

NOTE: None of the USB ports on the Dell XPS 15 L521X appear colored blue, as many USB 3.0 ports do traditionally on other devices. This does not indicate anything conclusive, yet it seems of interest given the issue.

My laptop details:
Dell XPS 15 (L521X) laptop
Service Tag: 75HTJV1
OS: Windows 8 64x
Purchased: December 2012, direct from Dell online, for personal use.
All drivers and BIOS updated to latest versions from Dell.
Windows 8 drivers up to date.
BIOS USB Debugging option: disabled (DEFAULT)

Hope to hear from someone who can shed better light on this. Thanks.
February 19, 2013 12:22:37 AM

If this was only a hardware bug on my one unit, Dell could replace it with a working unit. Yet it seems a new replacement would arrive with the same issue, from what I have gathered. Which makes me curious, is this an uncaught hardware design flaw on many systems? Or something an updated driver would fix? If the latter, I'm not sure why they have not provided the fix. Especially from Dell Technical Support Level 3.

Wish someone would confirm that a USB3.0 device indeed performs at Super-speed on their own XPS 15 L521X. That would go a ways to disspell some uncertainty.
April 5, 2013 9:14:03 AM

I got an Xps 15 L521x and only getting about 30 mb/s transfer rate with a USB 3.0 portable drive and half that speed with USB 3.0 flash drives. I don't know to do. Was thinking of sending the laptop back for a replacement machine
April 5, 2013 3:43:50 PM

Step2dbeet said:
I got an Xps 15 L521x and only getting about 30 mb/s transfer rate with a USB 3.0 portable drive and half that speed with USB 3.0 flash drives. I don't know to do. Was thinking of sending the laptop back for a replacement machine

Step2dbeet, I hear you. For me, Dell could not provide a solution for this issue. I ended up returning mine and got my money back.

I had spent a ton of time and effort troubleshooting this with them by phone. I liked the XPS 15 a great bit -- except for this unacceptable deal-breaker of a USB 3.0 issue -- and had hoped a solution would emerge. It didn't.

We discussed the option that Dell ship me a replacement XPS 15 L521X, a new one, and we discussed the option that I return the unit for a full refund. However, what Dell said about the replacement made the option unacceptable.

Keep in mind, Dell never confirmed the issue did not occur on other XPS 15 L521X models. Dell never said, "This is a single hardware failure only on your one unit." Nor anything like it. Dell never said, "We have confirmed on an XPS 15 L521X unit of our own that it successfully connects and transfers at USB 3.0 Super-speed." And Dell never said, "Our XPS 15 L521X connects and transfers faster than USB 2.0 High-speed."

So what did Dell say? I pressed them and asked, "Would the USB 3.0 on the new XPS 15 L521X operate at Super-speed, as designed and advertised?" Dell said: "We cannot guarantee that." In other words, this occurs on other units. Perhaps a significant number of other units. Perhaps even all of these units?

I chose to get my money back.

Dell gave me a full refund for mine, no restocking fees, and setup and paid for the pickup shipping. I had owned the unit going on 3 months. (I had first notified them of the issue in the first week of owning the unit.) That notification could justify the full refund. Did they want to do right by me for all the trouble and trouble shooting I had gone through?

Well, they also revoked the $200 Dell Gift Card they had given me following my purchase of the XPS 15. I had yet to use it at that point. Had I, they could not have taken it back. So that struck me as petty.

It would seem in Dell's best interest to get that unit out of the hands of the guy who found that USB 3.0 issue, and kept pursuing it.

Step2dbeet: no matter what you do, I strongly encourage you to at least call Dell Support and have them record and date your issue in their records. If it's within the first 30 days of your purchase you can then site that record as a valid reason for a refund or exchange should you choose to do so. Maybe Dell has fixed this issue by now? Don't know, haven't checked.

BTW: Discouraged, I took the refund and did not purchase another Dell. (This one had been my fourth (fifth?) for personal use.) Instead I bought an Apple MacBook Pro 15" with Retina display, with Boot Camp dual booting into Windows 8. Way sweet. And guess what? The USB 3.0 works... (It's really quite fast.)

Good luck!
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