Raptor Lake Motherboards Allegedly Hit With Ethernet Controller Flaw

Motherboard Ethernet
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

According to a report from TechPowerUp (opens in new tab), Intel's latest I226-V 2.5GbE Ethernet controller, which debuted on 700-series motherboards, may have a design flaw. User reports from the Intel (opens in new tab), Microsoft (opens in new tab), Asus (opens in new tab), and Reddit (opens in new tab) communities allege that the I226-V controller causes frequent connection drops at random times, suggesting a potential design flaw.

The I226-V controller, codenamed Foxville, is the successor to the I225-V controller launched in 2019. Unfortunately, the I225-V wasn't perfect and was plagued by many network connection problems that led to connectivity loss and performance deterioration. Since the issues could only be fixed at the hardware level, Intel eventually released the I225-V2 controller. Sadly, motherboards manufactured before the new revision continue to suffer from the issues, leading to workarounds such as gimping the controller to 1GbE mode instead of 2.5GbE.

Many Intel 700-series motherboards for 13th Generation Raptor Lake processors leverage the I226-V Ethernet controller. Luckily, the connection drops are brief; you probably wouldn't perceive them in daily usage. However, you'd notice the drops in other workloads, such as downloading a big file, online gaming, or in a video call via Zoom. It's easy to see whether connection drops are occurring on your system if you look inside Windows Event Viewer under the "Windows Logs" section and, subsequently, "System." In addition, TechPowerUp recommends searching for "e2fnexpress" and scouring for Event 27 or Event 32 errors.

Unfortunately, neither the latest Ethernet drivers from Intel nor the newest firmware for the motherboards solve the intermittent connection drops. TechPowerUp tried forcing the I226-V controller to operate at 1 Gbps, but that didn't completely solve the problem.

Owners of premium 700-series motherboards don't have to fret over the I226-V issues since the more expensive offerings come with dual Ethernet controllers. Those users can switch to a third-party controller from Marvell or Realtek and forget about the I226-V. Alternatively, some 700-series motherboards offer integrated Wi-Fi, which is also a good option. If you own a lower-tier motherboard, you'll likely have to fork out cash for a PCIe network adapter or wireless adapter (or learn to live with the connection drops).

One would think that Intel would have learned from its past mistakes on the I225-V controller. However, it doesn't appear so. Hopefully, the chipmaker can resolve the issues with a firmware update rather than a hardware revision like the I225-V controller.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • peterf28
    I'am safe with my ASUS TUF B760 mobo which has 2.5Gbit realtek controller
    Reply
  • DavidLejdar
    I would make use of the warranty...
    Reply
  • Soaptrail
    DavidLejdar said:
    I would make use of the warranty...
    I don't see how that would fix it. I am guessing this would only be fixed by a class action lawsuit. It would suck to buy a board with an intel NIC but then find out it does not work. Even if you have a second NIC onboard you still paid a premium for the Intel NIC.
    Reply
  • PlaneInTheSky
    First they skimped on 10Gb/s and replaced them with cheaper 2.5Gb/s.

    Now it becomes clear they also skimped on software.

    Next, another tech company will ask why sales are in the gutter and why they have to fire thousands of employees.
    Reply
  • kep55
    Admin said:
    Intel Ethernet I226-V controller causes connection drops on the latest 700-series motherboards for Raptor Lake processors.

    Raptor Lake Motherboards Allegedly Hit With Ethernet Controller Flaw : Read more
    Looks like Intel has been sleeping with mictosoft for too long and has decided that QC isn't necessary but fixing what isn't broke is.
    Reply
  • blppt
    Who would've thought that we'd be at the day when Realtek and other 3rd party NICs were preferred over Intel for reliability. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
    Reply
  • Amdlova
    I have an ethernet cable cat 5e, when put intel nics have problems to connect. I go on the config and change 100/100 and works. Realtek don't have problems
    Reply
  • thestryker
    I've been using a 4 port i226-V based box as a pfsense router for months and have never had an issue. Internet connection never drops out (1gbps) and the connection to the box never drops out (2.5gbps). I'm not saying that there isn't a problem at work, but if it was just the controller then I'd have been having issues as well. I can't imagine the implementation is fundamentally different on the effected motherboards and hopefully whatever is going on can be resolved with software.
    Reply
  • RichardtST
    Lovely. Thanks. I ran into stability problems on the 12th gen intel board ethernet interfaces. Resolved them eventually, but it was painful. I actively look for non-intel ethernet interfaces now. Lesson learned and reinforced.
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    Intel, what happened to you?

    Your Networking division used to be the "Gold Standard" that other Networking companies measured against.

    It's a sad day when RealTek starts outshining you.
    Reply