Issues with ASMedia and Zen, or much ado over nothing?

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2016 - 06:33 PM |
Tagged: amd, asmedia, Zen, usb 3.1

DigiTimes has heard rumours of a possible defect with the ASMedia USB 3.1 controller which will appear on motherboards for AMD's upcoming Zen, which ASMedia have denied and AMD ignored.  The supposed issue stems from increased degradation of transmission speeds over distance which requires the inclusion of additional retimer and redriver chips.  If the issue does exist the worst repercussion will be an increase in manufacturing costs of $2 to $5 per board; even when that charge is passed on to the consumer it will have a very small impact on MSRP and is not likely to raise prices to the realm of Intel motherboards.  As with all rumours take this with a grain of salt, even if it is true it is unlikely to have any major effect on pricing.

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"Commenting on the news, AMD said it is pleased that Zen is on track and will not comment on customer specific board-level solutions., while ASMedia clarified that this is purely a market rumor and its product's signal, stability and compatibility have all passed certification."

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Source: DigiTimes

June 21, 2016 | 07:51 PM - Posted by nanoflower (not verified)

Even if it was true Zen is far enough out that it should have no impact on the launch date.

June 21, 2016 | 08:10 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Even if it were a problem, the Zen SKU/s are not currently released from AMD, so if it is just one motherboard makers/USB 3.1 controller chip makers product then it's not really AMD's problem! If it where a necessary chip-set subcontractor problem from one of AMD's main suppliers of essential parts used by all the AM4 motherboard makers then I'd be more worried.

And the Article states: "AMD's chipsets for Zen-based processors, which AMD outsourced to Taiwan-based ASMedia Technology for R&D, are rumored to be seeing design issues, which will increase motherboard players' costs by US$2-5, according to sources from the motherboard industry."

So it is an AMD part made under contract with ASMedia for use on AM4 motherboards, but if a signal driver/repeater chip is all that is requited to fix the problem is it really that bad. It's a USB 3.1 controller chip so that 10Gbs is harder to manage over longer trace distances than USB 3.0/2.0 bandwidth. Some motherboard form-factor SKUs are bigger than others so maybe it's only necessary for the larger boards with longer trace networks, while a smaller form factor motherboard will do just fine. It sounds like a typical engineering issue for the motherboard makers.

June 22, 2016 | 05:35 AM - Posted by JohnGR

Not enough 3.1 devices in the market to make it a problem. Even less devices that can take advantage of the full bandwidth. Manufacturers will place the USB 3.1 ports at places where they don't become a problem, or just add one more controller and advertise their boards as having "more USB 3.1 ports" than the competition. The good news here is that Zen is OK.

June 23, 2016 | 07:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

My hope is for a sub 80 watt part that competes with Intel's IvyBridge for under $200.

Intel hasn't moved performance much. I could honestly live with that, but the fact that prices haven't moved at all in the 5 or so years since Ivy Bridge bugs me.

June 22, 2016 | 07:49 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

There were zero issues with ASMedia's controllers in the past, so I really can't treat this as anything else than just an outright FUD.

June 22, 2016 | 11:22 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I wonder if this rumor was started by the same person/people who started the "Polaris can't clock over 850MHz" rumor.

June 23, 2016 | 09:10 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

and "Polaris will not come until September-October."

Some little green fanboy living in his mums basement. who only has kissed one girl, who was his sister.

June 23, 2016 | 01:23 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

"O HAI, my name is Jeremy".avi

June 23, 2016 | 05:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hey, don't forget to check back in on the 1000-core CPU article and admit that you were wrong.

June 23, 2016 | 06:30 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

I don't care about "1000-cores" if each and every core in there doesn't run within at least 2.5GHz .

P.S. Cry more.

June 24, 2016 | 12:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Aww, poor little Master Child is completely incapable of admitting that he was wrong. And when he IS wrong, and it's demonstrated to him, he just runs away from the thread and hides so he doesn't have to face up to the fact that he completely misunderstood what someone was saying and attacked them for it.

Why am I not surprised?

June 22, 2016 | 07:34 PM - Posted by extide

Why would this be an issue ONLY on AND Zen boards? I mean if there is really an issue with the ASMedia USB 3.1 controllers then shouldn't if effect everyone? I mean that is used on tons of Skylake boards and stuff..

June 23, 2016 | 02:41 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

Yup, which is what ASMedia said, unless it is a new chip or AMD have done some strange things to the board.  True or not it will not have a noticeable effect on performance or pricing.

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