Windows 8.1 and the ASMedia USB 3.1 XHCI 1.1 Host Controller

Update 3/22/2015:
A new stable version of the ASMedia USB 3.1 driver is now available. ASUS is not yet linking to this version from the motherboard support page so here is a direct download link: Version 1.16.24.0 from 2/12/2015.

 

 

When we heard ASUS had released the first commercially available USB 3.1 equipped motherboard we rushed to get our hands on one. We picked up the ASUS Z97-PRO(Wi-Fi ac)/USB 3.1 and assembled our new USB testing workstation. Since Intel is not yet ready with their USB 3.1 controller, ASUS added an ASMedia ASM1142 USB 3.1 XHCI 1.1 controller with two teal colored USB 3.1 type A connectors.

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As most of our products are USB based, we wanted to get some early testing results to be prepared for any issues that might arise with this new USB 3.1 controller. We installed a fresh copy of Windows 8.1 with all of the latest updates and found that the built-in Microsoft XHCI “0110” driver (version 6.3.9600.17393 from 10/6/2014) for the ASMedia controller only appeared to be USB 3.0 capable according to the device description.

msstack

Normally we do not recommend replacing the built-in Windows 8/8.1 Microsoft USB driver stack with 3rd party drivers but in this scenario to achieve full USB 3.1 functionality we tracked down the latest 3rd party driver installation utility from ASMedia (version 1.16.23.0 from 12/24/2014) provided by ASUS in their motherboard support downloads section and installed it. Now the controller was being recognized as an XHCI 1.1 controller capable of USB 3.1!

asm1.16.23.0

Unfortunately we experienced major issues almost immediately. Upon connecting our USB3-HUB7-81X (VIA VL812 B2 based) 7-port hub, the system instantaneously crashed with a “SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION (asmtxhci.sys)” blue screen of death. This was not a good sign as the driver in question that caused the crash was the ASMedia driver (asmtxhci.sys) we had just installed.

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After several reboots and experimentation, we found the crashes to vary widely in frequency. Sometimes the crash would occur with a simple USB 3.0 flash drive, other times with our 7-port hub and all 7 ports occupied with USB graphics adapters. When connecting these same devices to the on-board Intel 9 Series USB 3.0 controller there were no issues. We decided to remove the ASMedia 1.16.23.0 drivers and roll back to the built-in Microsoft “0110” drivers to see what would happen. We found that the controller became as stable as the Intel controller but with the tradeoff of losing USB 3.1 functionality for future USB 3.1 devices. This was not a compromise we were willing to make.

We did some digging and found that the “asmtxhci.inf” driver file from the ASMedia driver installer not only worked for the new ASM1142 USB 3.1 controller, but it appeared to be a unified driver covering all ASMedia USB host controllers. This gave us an idea. We installed an older ASMedia ASM1042 USB 3.0 PCI-E controller card in our USB test workstation and installed the ASMedia 1.16.23.0 drivers once again. Both 3.1 and 3.0 ASMedia controllers were now running the same driver on the same workstation.

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We found that the instability we encountered on the on-board ASM1142 3.1 controller also happened on our add-on PCI-E ASM1042 3.0 controller. Knowing that the instability was definitely driver and not hardware related, we looked at the “asmtxhci.inf” driver file for the older (stable) ASMedia drivers that we have been recommending to our customers for their ASMedia USB 3.0 controllers (version 1.16.18.1 from 4/10/2014, WHQL certified) and found that it was also compatible with our new 3.1 controller despite being the oldest of the three compatible drivers.

Once again we removed the 1.16.23.0 drivers, reverted to the Microsoft built-in drivers for both ASMedia controllers (“0110” for the ASM1142 and “0096” for the ASM1042), and finally installed the older ASMedia 1.16.18.1 drivers. After doing so both controllers were stable in our tests and the ASM1142 USB 3.1 controller was being recognized as 3.1 (XHCI 1.1) capable.

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At the moment Plugable is still testing the ASMedia ASM1142 controller but the early results are looking great after finding a stable driver. We’ve currently got 6 of our USB3-HUB7-81X 7-port USB 3.0 hubs and 36 of our UGA-3000 USB 3.0 DisplayLink graphics adapters attached with no signs of instability or USB resource limits. (Please note that Windows and DisplayLink does have limits to how many monitors can be attached. Our demonstration here is unlikely to initialize all 36 adapters with monitors attached successfully. Realistically we have been able to get up to 14 with success in the past.)

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For the time being, we strongly recommend users do not install the latest 1.16.23.0 driver version from ASMedia but rather install the older stable 1.16.18.1 drivers (or use the built-in Microsoft “0110” drivers if 3.1 operation is not required). Unfortunately as we’re still waiting for some native USB 3.1 devices to test, we cannot comment on actual USB 3.1 device functionality on any of the aforementioned driver versions.

Due to the difficulty in finding and downloading the stable ASMedia driver version 1.16.18.1 we have provided it below for your convenience. Feel free to also comment below if problems remain but Plugable cannot take any responsibility for any issues these drivers may cause to your computer.

ASMedia ASM1042 USB 3.0 XHCI / ASM1142 USB 3.1 XHCI 1.1 Driver Version 1.16.18.1 WHQL – 4/10/2014

17 comments on “Windows 8.1 and the ASMedia USB 3.1 XHCI 1.1 Host Controller”

  1. shroeder Reply
    • Joshua Henry Joshua Henry Reply

      Hello,

      We were running up to date BIOS at the time of the testing. We’ll begin tests on the newer version of drivers and post an update shortly.

      Thanks for the heads up on newer drivers!

  2. shroeder Reply
  3. JH Reply

    Hi, would you recommend the 1.16.18.1 driver for ASM1042 on Windows 7 as well? Thanks in advance.

  4. Bambang Wiyono Reply

    I have ASUS P8Z77V Deluxe the 1.16.18.0 worked just fine while the 1.16.24.0 caused my Win7 to bluescreen – almost unrecoverable too – beware.

  5. Eduard S Reply

    Is this a known issue that USB devices are not recognized under Windows 10 on this motherboard? Have spent several days trying to figure out what may be causing it and unsuccessful. Any non usb flash drive devices I connect to the computer show up with an error code 28. Flash drives work. Any advice on this?

  6. Spaniard Tech. Reply

    Just a quick note to say that provided USB 3.0 driver for Biostar TA90 Plus motherboard doesn’t work (at least under Windows 7 x64 Home Premium), it installs but after the installation is done the ports are still unrecognized by the OS. Biostar’s website offers for download a very old version (1.16.12.1) of the driver which, as said, doesn’t work.

    However, the 1.16.18.1 version of the same driver, offered here, works perfectly and at full speed (I haven’t tried the newer 1.16.18.24 version, but some people are saying it also doesn’t work properly).

    So, all you Biostar TA90 Plus owners, use the 1.16.18.1 driver provided here and forget about the official driver.

    Many thanks to Joshua Henry for investigating and solving the problem (and for publishing the results and keeping the 1.16.18.1 driver available online), and best regards from Spain.

    • TJ Duckett Reply

      I’m having this exact problem with my TA90 board and I also run Windows 7 home. I cannot find the working drivers that you’re talking about on this site? Can you direct me as to where to look?

  7. Rajasekar Reply

    Hi, My New Strontium pen drive 16gb usb 3.0 OTG not working in Windows 8.1 (Asus z97 Pro Gamer Borad). I have tried the above mentioned solutions but not detecting.

    USB 2.0 Pendrive’s are working perfectly.

    Please help me.

    • Gary Zeller Reply

      Hi Rajasekar – We posted this article as a reference based on what we found in our early testing of this motherboard. For help troubleshooting specific performance or compatibility problems, we suggest contacting either Asus or your system manufacturer.

  8. Jason L Reply

    Asus U56e laptop (BB from Best Buy) worked well with DisplayLink UD-3900 under Windows 7 and a second monitor using the docking station’s DVI port. After upgrading to Windows 10, the docking station failed. When connected and driving audio, a second monitor, and a couple of USB devices, the plugable driver would enable and stop repeatedly every minute or two. This caused the second display to work and then stop repeatedly cycling between single and dual monitor modes.

    I downloaded the Plugable driver 7.9 M3 (7.9.630.0) software I needed including the ASMedia driver version 1.16.18.1 and disconnected from the Internet. Installation worked successfully. After reconnecting to the Internet, the system remained stable.

    My theory is that Windows 10’s automatic update features updated drivers to newer versions even when I didn’t want them.

  9. Ethos Reply

    I have problem with my USBs .. even USB 3.1 ones and even USB 3.0 ones ..
    If I connect usb 2.0 flash drive to any of these it will start read i 5mins and if i insert usb 3.0 flash drive it will read straight away
    anyb. knows why is this doing?

  10. Subash Prabu Reply

    lol I had the same issue with 1.16.22 uninstalled it and let MS install its own, Its stable now 🙂

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