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AMD Investigating USB Connectivity Issues with Ryzen PCs

Ryzen die
(Image credit: Fritzhez Frenz)

A slew of complaints has been posted to Reddit and user forums regarding USB connectivity bugs with Ryzen systems. AMD has announced via a forum post that it is investigating the matter, but for now, the breadth of the issue remains unknown and AMD says it impacts a "small number of users." We've reached out to AMD and motherboard vendors for further comment and will update as necessary.

The issues seem confined to Ryzen 3000 and 5000 series CPUs in 500-series motherboards (i.e., X570 and B550) and consist of random dropouts for USB-connected devices. The complaints encompass a number of different types of USB devices, with issues including unresponsive external capture devices, momentary keyboard connection drops, slow mouse responses, issues with VR headsets, and, more worryingly, connection issues with external storage devices and USB-connected CPU coolers. 

Naturally, poor connections to storage devices can result in data corruption, and coolers that don't operate correctly can result in thermal throttling and reduced performance (luckily, AMD's chips have robust protection mechanisms that prevent physical damage to the chip from excessive heat).

Some impacted AMD customers have compiled a list of 78 systems impacted by the bug. However, identifying the root issue could be daunting: a modern system relies on a wide collection of drivers, software, operating system code, and firmware to operate, and different motherboard firmware (AGESA) revisions could also be in play.

Additionally, AMD's Ryzen processors supply some USB connectivity directly from the processor, while other USB lanes hang off the chipset. For now, it isn't clear which set of USB ports are impacted. 

To that effect, AMD has notified users that it has begun investigating the issue

"AMD is aware of reports that a small number of users are experiencing intermittent USB connectivity issues reported on 500 Series chipsets. We have been analyzing the root cause and at this time, we would like to request the community’s assistance with a small selection of additional hardware configurations. Over the next few days, some r/Amd users may be contacted directly by an AMD representative (u/AMDOfficial) via Reddit’s PM system with a request for more information.

This request may include detailed hardware configurations, steps to reproduce the issue, specific logs, and other system information pertinent to verifying our development efforts. We will provide an update when we have more details to share. Customers facing issues are always encouraged to raise an Online Service Request with AMD customer support; this enables us to find correlations and compare notes across support claims." - AMD Official Account. 

Experimenting Ryzen users have come up with a few workarounds that seem to reduce and/or eliminate the USB dropout issues, which includes disabling Global C-States, disabling PCIe 4.0 in the BIOS and using PCIe 3.0 instead, manually uninstalling/reinstalling USB ports and root hubs, and also disabling unused USB headers. However, results vary and typically reduce, rather than eliminate, the issues. 

The breadth of the issue isn't currently known, and given the number of complaints, the spreadsheet with 78 impacted configurations obviously doesn't include all instances of the bug — particularly given that many customers aren't tech-savvy and wouldn't frequent enthusiast tech forums. However, AMD has shipped over 1 million Ryzen 5000 chips (and an untold number of Ryzen 3000 chips) thus far, so it's clear that the issue doesn't impact all users. We've reached out to AMD on the matter and will update as necessary. 

Paul Alcorn

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.

  • NightHawkRMX
    I have never had such issues with any AMD system I have used, including ones using 500 series motherboards.
    Reply
  • RodroX
    Call (cough) microsoft (cough)
    Reply
  • Reginald_Peebottom
    It’s interesting the timing of this article for me - I have two B450 gigabyte chipset mobos (different models) and the ‘lesser’ model with a Ryzen3 1200 has occasionally, but consistently in the sense that it happens with some regularity, lost USB connection with my MS wireless keyboard/mouse combo. Unplug and replug and it works again until the next reboot (it only seems to do it once per session). If I use a PCIe USB 3 add on card, no issue. Other mobo - no issues with the same keyboard mouse combo.

    Perhaps this is just coincidental, but, I have occasionally had issues with non intel chipsets (via, amd, and not surprisingly SiS) - not often and usually they are odd little problems or issues. I am not an intel fanboy and obviously own more than one amd system including a ryzen powered gaming laptop (works goodly) but there is something more solid about intel products as unscientific as that belief I have may be.
    Reply
  • coolestcarl
    RodroX said:
    Call (cough) microsoft (cough)
    Spot on... I used to have intermittent problems until I realised that it was due to microsoft power saving profiles that was causing usb devices to enter power saving mode and drop out.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    This wouldn't be the first time that AMD produced chipsets with quirky IO controllers.
    Reply
  • ThisIsMe
    Yeah, AMD has certainly produced high-performing CPUs over its history, but I would never expect dependable IO connectivity from an AMD system. Probably fine for everyday users in most cases, but I would not expect it to be in the same category as a decent Intel system. Just too many intermittent problems with AMD systems really. Stability is generally good, but not 24/7/365 good.

    Also, for those that like to blame Windows, if a device doesn't work as expected with Windows, it's usually a faulty driver or device design that's to blame. Not always, of course, but most of the time.
    Reply
  • Sergei Tachenov
    I have a B550 mobo with 3700X, no problems with USB whatsoever. But I heard that this problem only appears when PCIe4 devices are present. Funny enough, I tried to install an NVMe4 SSD, but it didn't work at all (wasn't even recognized). I just returned it to the seller, no questions asked, so I don't really know whether it was a faulty SSD or some problem with mobo. And I don't have a PCIe4 GPU either (still on RTX 2060, with these crazy prices...).

    ThisIsMe said:
    Also, for those that like to blame Windows, if a device doesn't work as expected with Windows, it's usually a faulty driver or device design that's to blame. Not always, of course, but most of the time.
    And according to the rumors, the problem only appears with USB devices using Microsoft drivers, so blaming Microsoft is a natural thing. I'm neither a fan nor a hater of neither Microsoft nor AMD, but if the rumors are true and the same systems work just fine in Linux, then it's only logical to suppose that Microsoft's driver is to blame.
    Reply
  • Dominic442
    Consistently in the sense that it happens with some regularity, lost USB connection with my MS wireless keyboard/mouse combo. Unplug and replug and it works again until the next reboot (it only seems to do it once per session). If I use a PCIe USB 3 add on card, no issue. Other mobo - no issues with the same keyboard mouse combo FaceTime PC .
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    NightHawkRMX said:
    I have never had such issues with any AMD system I have used, including ones using 500 series motherboards.
    same, I'm on a b550 board with a 3600, my motherboard sports both usb3 and usb-c (3.2) connectivity, I have 10+ usb devices plugged into my system at any given time, and I've never seen this.

    ThisIsMe said:
    Yeah, AMD has certainly produced high-performing CPUs over its history, but I would never expect dependable IO connectivity from an AMD system. Probably fine for everyday users in most cases, but I would not expect it to be in the same category as a decent Intel system. Just too many intermittent problems with AMD systems really. Stability is generally good, but not 24/7/365 good.

    Also, for those that like to blame Windows, if a device doesn't work as expected with Windows, it's usually a faulty driver or device design that's to blame. Not always, of course, but most of the time.

    hahahah. oh man, dude i don't mean to make fun of you but the number of USB errors that have plagued intel systems over the years is innumerable. they had 2 generations of motherboard that sported some of the worst USB3 connectivity I've ever seen with known bugs across entire platforms (back around ib/sb, people just sucked it up cause there was no real option from AMD) Broadwell brought its own USB issues early on before intel finally licked it with some bios updates. Yes, it's been a little while since intel had usb problems, but dude, take off those blue sunglasses you got on. Team blue has had some epic issues over the years right out of the box... including it's current chips (though they're not USB ones).

    and as I said earlier in this post, I've never seen this problem, and I'm a borderline power user, just a step under someone doing 3d rendering or CAD for a living and I've never seen it. That's not to say this isn't a real problem, but that it's probably not chipset or physical chip design causing it. it's probably a driver issue.
    Reply
  • datascience_guy
    coolestcarl said:
    Spot on... I used to have intermittent problems until I realised that it was due to microsoft power saving profiles that was causing usb devices to enter power saving mode and drop out.
    I have had issues with my wireless keyboard and mouse on my desktop X570 mobo. Trying out disabling USB selective suspend setting in my current Power Plan to see if that is a workaround for now.
    Reply