AMD’s Zen processor has issues with USB 3.1
AMD’s Zen processor should be the next big deal – the chip, which is expected in late 2016, will be able to compete with Intel’s latest processors and in addition to this will become the first desktop processor that will integrate the entire motherboard chipset. This will make all Zen motherboards chipset-free, which will ease manufacturers.
Unfortunately there’s a rumor that claims that Zen has problems with USB 3.1. We have to stress here that this is not AMD’s fault – instead a company called ASMedia, which provides USB 3.1 controllers to AMD, is to blame. The bigger problem is that the issue has been discovered just now when Zen is in a pre-production stage so AMD may not go back and fix the issue – sadly the US chip maker will have to live with this problem.
So the problem comes to this – when the wires that connect USB 3.1 ports with the AM4 socket go beyond a certain length, there’s a significant drop in the data transfer speed. Thus motherboard makers are forced to use additional retime and redriver chips to reach acceptable speed over such ports and sometimes an additional USB 3.1 controller chip is required.
Not everything has been lost, though – AMD may provide USB 3.1 controllers to all makers of AM4 motherboards, which will cut into the expected profits from Zen, or the motherboard makers may place certain USB 3.1 ports (for instance the internal ones) closer to the CPU socket. It is unclear which path motherboard makers will take but we are sure that the issue will be resolved sooner or later.