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In brief: Reports of USB connectivity issues on AMD X570 and B550 motherboards have circled the forums since the boards’ release, but the issue has recently come to a head on Reddit. AMD has responded with a simple statement: they’re not sure what the issue is, and they’d like to collect more data.
For the past few months, reports of sporadic USB disconnections on 500-series motherboards have been stacking up on the desk of AMD’s subreddit. Some users have reported that their keyboard will suddenly become unresponsive for 5 to 10 seconds, every few minutes. Other users complain that their mouse will slow down. Owners of sound cards are talking about crackling and distortion.
The strangest thing about the issue is that it seems to be new -- because X570 and B550 boards aren’t. While the first complaints were posted over a year ago, their frequency seems to have increased exponentially in the past month. Some Redditors recently compiled a statistics table for users to share their issues and system specifications, and it looks like the issue is mostly occurring in systems with new RTX GPUs.
But don’t worry, a flagship GPU isn’t a necessity. A mid range GPU and a few high bandwidth devices, like external hard drives, external capture devices, or VR headsets and tracking stations seem to do the trick just as well. And it’s not just the high bandwidth device that will experience the issue, anything connected to the same system can be affected, including internally connected devices like CPU coolers -- which is a very serious issue.
Some workarounds have been found by the community. The first port of call: turning off "c-states" in the BIOS. It won’t carry a penalty, and it can halve the frequency of disconnects. But if that doesn’t work, your remaining options are to switch from PCIe 4.0 to PCIe 3.0 or to go through the BIOS and disable every USB port/header you’re not using. Doing all three will stop the disconnections for most people, but not for power users. Streamers with a capture card, microphone, webcam, and the usual batch of peripherals are out of luck, basically.
That’s where AMD comes in. They’ve asked anyone experiencing issues to report them on AMD’s website. They’ll also be messaging some people who’ve commented on their problems on Reddit.
Hopefully, AMD will be able to resolve these issues quickly with a firmware update. In the meanwhile, for new system builders, our best advice is to opt for an AMD GPU to pair with X570 and B550 motherboards, as the combination seems to be almost devoid of issues.