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Intel Overclocker
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

UPDATE: 5/2018, Do yourself a favor and don't buy the ASUS ThunderboltEX 3 expansion card. You will save yourself not only the cost, but the hours of troubleshooting! Nonexistent support, driver updates every 2+ years, and RMA after RMA. ASUS should be ashamed of themselves and recall the entire line, but they are not and will not. If you need TB3, and have the header on your motherboard, then get yourself a Gigabyte Gc-alpine Ridge 2.0 and download the latest drivers from ASUS,17.2.71.250. That combination seems to work, it's what I am currently running. I have not needed to contact GB's support so I have no idea how they respond. I will update as the use goes on, but so far so good.

UPDATE: You might be able to skip all the steps below when using the latest ASUS Thunderbolt drivers Version 17.2.71.250. Try following the steps directly below this post before moving on to try the long version below that.

1. Prior to installing the ThunderboltEX 3 adapter into the computer system, install the Version 17.2.71.250 Thunderbolt drivers downloaded from the ASUS support website HERE.
2. Turn off your computer. Note: Remove the power cord from the PSU. Press the power button a few times and/or just wait a bit until all the capacitors have been discharged.
3. Making sure you have your ESD strap on remove the TB3 card from the ESD safe bag and install it in a location where your Motherboard will allow Gen3 and X4 PCIe lanes. Refer to your manual.
4. Install the Thunderbolt_Header cable from your TB3 card 10 pin connector to your motherboards Thunderbolt Header. If your motherboard does not have this connection then the card will not function.
5. Install the HDMI to DP cable that came with the TB3 from your motherboards display port or a spare location on your video card.
6. Button up your computer, plug it in, and turn it on.
7. Go into your BIOS and see if the Advanced\Thunderbolt menu is available, you might have to log into windows first then reboot and get into the BIOS again for it to come up.
8. In the BIOS set the following: Intel Thunderbolt Technology (On), Security Level (Any i think), Wake from TB (Disable unless you have your mouse or keyboard hooked up to it for some reason), TB USB Support (Enabled), TB Boot Support (Disabled), AIC Support (On), AIC Location (NB or SB, depending on what slot you installed it into), AIC Location (The slot you installed it into), GPIO3 Force Pwr (On), Wait time (200), TB PCIe Cache-Line Size (32), SMI/Notify Support (On), SwSMI Support (On may cause q-code bF, still waiting for an answer from ASUS on what that means exactly), Notify Support (On), Ignore TB Option (On), TB SwSMI Delay (humm I wonder if setting this to the default 0 is what is causing the bF q-code, I will need to test it), TB IO resource (On), Mem and PMem per phy slot (32), Reserved IO per phy slot (ASUS said I should set this to 4, but have not given a reason for that yet. So set it at 4 or 20). Save and exit.
9. Boot up windows and if the TB program is not running look in your start menu and start it, your card "should" be up and running.
10. Right click on the TB icon in the system tray and left click About. If your NVM Firmware version is not 18.05 then install the Firmware update located in the same place the driver is on ASUS's website. If everything is working it should look like this!

I cannot take credit for finding out how to get it done, that goes to Andre Flagg and his post on YouTube
I will add more details though.

I have no idea if it will work on other manufacturers motherboards using the X99 chipset, it might or it might not.

My New Hardware Motherboard: ASUS Rampage V Edition 10 BIOS: American Megatrends Inc, 1801, 12/10/2017 CPU: i7 6850K System Drive 1: 960 EVO NVME 256 plugged into the M.2 slot. (Windows 7 Pro) System Drive 2: 960 PRO NVME on the ASUS Hyper M.2 x4 Mini in the PCIe_X16/X8_3 Slot. (Windows 10 Pro, Version 1709, OS Build 16299.192) LINK HERE Video Card: Radeon PRO WX 5100 plugged into the PCIe_X16/X8_1 Slot. Thunderbolt: ASUS ThunderboltEX 3 card plugged into the PCIe_X8_2 Slot.

My Old Hardware Motherboard: ASUS X99-Deluxe ii BIOS: American Megatrends Inc, 1701, 3/31/2017 CPU: i7 6850K System Drive 1: 960 EVO NVME 256 plugged into the M.2 slot. (Windows 7 Pro) System Drive 2: 960 PRO NVME on the ASUS Hyper M.2 x4 Mini in the PCIEX16_3 Slot. (Windows 10 Pro, 10.0.15063 Build) LINK HERE Video Card: Radeon PRO WX 5100 plugged into the PCIEX16_1 Slot. Thunderbolt: ASUS ThunderboltEX 3 card plugged into the PCIEX16_5 Slot. Below are the links for the items you need to download.

1. ASUS Thunderbolt 3 drivers. DRIVER LINK
2. ASUS Installation Manual for the Thunderbolt 3 Card, these instructions do not work by themselves (at least not for me). MANUAL LINK
3. Optional: Intel Chipset Drivers for X99-Deluxe ii DRIVER LINK Select your OS, scroll down to Chipset, select latest file. Or if you do not have a X99-Deluxe ii go to your boards driver section and download it.

Andre stated that he looked in the "release notes.txt and under V15339250 and found something about installing each file individually. Its actually under the next release down Version 15.2.32.250. Quote:
  • All drivers must be installed separately to have the complete functionality.
Still rather cryptic, but Andre figured out they were talking about. They are talking about all of the extra files located in the Intel_Thunderbolt_Win7-81-10_V15339250.zip file. The files named like tbt70i.cat, tbt70i.inf, and tbt70i.sys. There are 36 of these files, broken into 6 groups. Here is a list of the instructions, I have formatted them and added any notes that I had.
  1. Windows 10 FULLY UPDATED. Note: Go to settings, Windows Update, Check for Update until it says your device is up to date.
  2. Uninstall all thunderbolt apps, delete folders. Note: Programs Files (x86) \ Intel \ Thunderbolt Software, but check in your Program Files directory as well, just in case.
  3. OPTIONAL: Install Intel Chipset Drivers. I did it at this point, I though I had already installed them when I rebuilt the OS. I did it again anyway just in case. I believe it asks for a reboot after the install.
  4. Reboot to the OS. Wait for it to fully come up. If you did the optional step above you should have already rebooted.
  5. Reboot to the BIOS. Note: Consult your manual for instructions on getting to your BIOS. For me its a nice little program that came with the motherboard software that reboots directly to the BIOS called ASUS Boot Settings. It is the only ASUS software besides AURA that I install on the system.
  6. Turn off thunderbolt in bios. Note: This will be located on the Advanced tab in the BIOS. Look at the bottom of picture 1 below. If you do not see the option "Inter(R) Thunderbolt", don't worry that is as good as turning it off hehe.
  7. Shutdown. Note: Remove the power cord from the PSU. Press the power button a few times and/or just wait a bit until all the capacitors have been discharged.
  8. Uninstall hardware. NOTE: If you never installed the Thunderbolt 3 card just go to the next step. Remove card and cable to motherboard. I have seen some instructions posted where they say to leave the cable attached. I dont recommend that as you may short something out if you place your card on something conductive or it falls over etc... Also I did not use those instructions, so they might work just fine, I just didnt want to chance it.
  9. Default bios. Note: For my motherboard there is a button called CLR_CMOS located to the right of the Q-Code LEDS on the bottom edge. Refer to the manual page 1-13 or if you have another motherboard refer to your manual. NOTE: If you are using any type of RAID make sure to change the Advanced \ PCH Storage Configuration \ SATA Controller 1 Mode Selection back to RAID. If you do not change it and you boot to windows, you will lose your RAID and have to rebuild it, or fix it separately. I will try and find the link on how to fix it. I did this a month or 2 ago when I was working on overclock settings. The fix did work, but I lost about 150MB of space and I couldn't merge the unallocated space back into the RAID. So ultimately I had to rebuild the it. I probably could have using some program like partition magic, but I had to rebuild the OS to get dual boot Win7/10. So I just rebuilt everything. Anyway that's neither here nor there lol... sidetracked myself!
  10. Install each setup file separately i.e., e.g. tbt70i, tbt70x, tbt81x, tp2p70i, tp2p70x, tp2p81x by right clicking and selecting install. Do not reboot !!!! So for this you will need to right click on each of the files mentioned above that have the .inf extension.
  11. Install Thunderbolt software. Note: AsusSetup.exe
  12. Reboot to the OS. Wait for it to fully come up.
  13. Shutdown. Note: Remove the power cord from the PSU. Press the power button a few times and/or just wait a bit until all the capacitors have been discharged.
  14. Install Thunderbolt card and header cable. Note: Per instructions in the ThunderboltEX 3 manual starting on page 6. Step 5 I believe is optional, I dont think Andre did it. I did and it worked so you got me. I will leave it up to you to decide hehe. The location is most likely PCI lane dependent. Both Andre and myself have the 40 lane CPU and both used the PCIEX16_5 slot. I have seen other people post where that option was not available in the Intel(R) Thunderbolt options in the BIOS, I believe they could only use slot 2 or 3? Well anyway, you can first try slot 5 and see how it goes, if it doesn't work move up a slot (Slot 4, then 3, etc...) until it pops up in the BIOS menu and take a look at the pull down menu to see which slots are available for your motherboard. Sorry I cannot be of further help on this part. Maybe someone knows what to do for a 28 lane CPU and will post it below!
  15. Reboot to the OS. Wait for it to fully come up.
  16. Reboot to Bios, turn on thunderbolt and enable all thunderbolt settings. Note: I think it took me about 4 to 5 reboots before the BIOS finally poped up with the Thunderbolt menu. I tried changing many different things in the BIOS, I will try and remember them all and post them below along with my final BIOS settings where the Thunderbolt card is working. Anyway just as I was about to give up again I rebooted once more and Abracadabra it was there... So I would say give it about 10 reboots or a few days of powering off after using it before changing the slot its in. Again sorry, it eventually popped up for me so all I can say is, in the immortal words of Axl Rose "All it takes is patience". I wish that was true, it probably takes a little luck as well.
  17. Reboot to OS.
  18. If the Thunderbolt program has not already popped up in the system tray then open it by pressing Start, Thunderbolt(TM) Software, Thunderbolt(TM). Or just type Thunderbolt in the search bar.
  19. Right click on the Thunderbolt icon in the system tray and left click View Available Devices, right click again and look at the details and you should hopefully see whats in Picture 2 Below. If not you can try messing with the same things I listed below and/or changing the slot its in.
Picture 1, showing what and where the menu looks like when it eventually pops up.

Picture 2, Success! Thanks Andre!

Settings I messed with, trying to get the menu to pop up in the approx 5 boots. So this was done at about 1 AM so I am not 100% I have the order correct... Ill put at what boot I put the item like (1, 3, 5) would be first, third, and fifth attempt to boot and have it turn on.

(2, 3, 5) Boot, Fastboot Tried Disabled and Enabled, ended with Enabled.
(2, 3, 4) PCIEX16_(1, 3, 4, 5) Link Speed, Auto, Gen 3, ended with Gen 3.
(2, 4) Boot, Boot \ CSM, Launch CSM, Enabled to Disabled, then back to Enabled.
(3, 5) Boot, Boot \ Secure Boot, OS Type, Windows UEFI mode to Other OS back to Windows UEFI mode.
(4) Boot, Boot \ Secure Boot, Key Management, think I reset the keys.

(1) Advanced, Advanced \ Intel(R) Thunderbolt, AIC Support [On]
(1) Advanced, Advanced \ Intel(R) Thunderbolt, AIC Location Group [CPU0 NB PCIE Slot]
(1) Advanced, Advanced \ Intel(R) Thunderbolt, AIC Location [NB PCIE X16_5]
(1, 5) GPIO3 Force Pwr Disabled, then Enabled. I wasnt sure what it was when I first got the Thunderbolt menu to popup, but I suspect that this is what turns the card on... Dooh
I believe after this change it finally started working...

Here are what I believe to be the correct settings for it to turn on. I only list some of these items because they were posted elsewhere in the ASUS X99 Motherboard Series - Official Support Thread (North American users only) LINK and I believe I have some disabled, where others had them enabled. So those ones I will mark with a * as they might not matter at all lol. Also some of the other ones might not make a difference either, sorry it was 1 AM hehe.

*Advanced, Advanced \ System Agent Configuration, NB PCI-E Configuration, PCIEX16_the slot you put it in [Gen3]
*Advanced, Advanced \ Platform Misc Configuration, PCH - PCI Express, PCH DMI ASPM [Disabled]
*Advanced, Advanced \ Platform Misc Configuration, PCH - PCI Express, ASPM Support [Disabled]
*Advanced, Advanced \ Onboard Devices Configuration, PCIEX16_5 Bandwidth [X4 Mode]
Advanced, Advanced \ Intel(R) Thunderbolt, Intel Thunderbolt Technology [On] Advanced, Advanced \ Intel(R) Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt Usb Support [Enabled]
Advanced, Advanced \ Intel(R) Thunderbolt, GPIO3 Force Pwr [Enabled]
Advanced, Advanced \ Intel(R) Thunderbolt, AIC Support [On]
Advanced, Advanced \ Intel(R) Thunderbolt, AIC Location Group [CPU0 NB PCIE Slot]
Advanced, Advanced \ Intel(R) Thunderbolt, AIC Location [NB PCIE X16_5] or wherever you put it.
Advanced, Advanced \ Intel(R) Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt Device IO resource Support [On]
Boot, Fast Boot [Enabled]
*Boot, INT19 Trap Response [Postponed]
*Boot, Above 4G Decoding [Disabled]
Boot, Boot \ CSM (Compatibility Support Module), Launch CSM [Enabled]

Final currently running BIOS settings text file below. After I edit this post! <a class="attachment loginreq" href="/attachments/50030" title="">45CPU_37C_32Mem_092517_setting.txt 35k .txt file

Again a big thanks to Andre Flagg wherever he is!


I know some of you may have questions, or the above might not work. All I can say is this has been the most frustrating thing so far in dealing with this build. This was my first full custom water loop with full custom sleeved cables (why didn't I just make extensions!!!) hehe. So it has to be pretty bad if its the worst aspect. Everything I know has been posted above. I have no more insight than anyone else after reading this post. If it works Great! If it doesnt I feel your pain and hope someday someone *cough ASUS* releases some actual working instructions for this card.
 

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Thank you! I may actually give this a try (again). I fought with trying to get my TB-III card working on my X99 Deluxe II for HOURS and HOURS and got it working, sort of, after uncounted hours of frustration. Asus offers next to nothing for instructions about how to do this and I have never found anyone who has posted having an easy time of it. There is no explanation of the BIOS settings having to do with TB configuration. Most people I have seen try to do it eventually give up. I have an 28-lane CPU and at the time I tried to get TB working, was running 2 R9-290X GPUs in crossfire. That did not work out at all. Now, I am running on just 1 GPU so I may give your method a try.<br><br>
Thanks again!
 

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Although I am not interested in running Thunderbolt on my X99 Deluxe II, I really appreciate the time and energy you expended to provide a solution for those who have had so much difficulty with doing so. Hopefully, others will give it a try and report back here on their findings.
 

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Thanks for your honesty and appreciation of my hard work and effort. I was very happy to share this information. I have always visited OverClock.net but never joined until now. Its a true honor to be recognized an to be considered amongst all of you. Over the years I read several post that have helped me in many situations. Thanks for all the help over the years!!! Signed Andre Flagg
 

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Intel Overclocker
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Discussion Starter #6
Hey great to hear from you! And thank you again your information. I was banging my head against the wall for weeks trying to get it to work. Stumbled upon your instructions and bam WORKED! Glad you joined the forum and look forward to seeing your posts.
 

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You are most welcomed, and thank you for the warmest of welcomes!!!
 

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Intel Overclocker
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Discussion Starter #8
Hello again all, its been a while since I posted here. I thought I would update everyone!<br><br>
New drivers and a firmware update have been posted on ASUS's site. <a class="bbcode_url" href="https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboard-Accessory/ThunderboltEX-3/HelpDesk_Download/" target="_blank">LINK</a><br><br>
It also looks like they posted a Hotfix on 12/27/2017.<br><br>
I was having a lot of problems with my Deluxe II board (bF and 01 q-codes from Thunderbolt Card, VCCSA voltage wouldnt show up in the BIOS or software) so I ended up having to RMA it. While it is in the repair shop I purchased a Rampage V Edition 10. Which also has the TB Header. I was also doing a couple of upgrades and just finished getting everything back together a few weeks ago.<br><br>
When I started working on my Overclock on the new board I started getting strange errors and problems with the TBEX3 card that came with the Deluxe II. I finally had to remove it and purchase a new one as the motherboard would not even detect it no matter what slot I installed it into. I was going to try and update the firmware but never got the chance. It had something to do with the latest update from Microsoft to Windows 10, but since it was not even detected in the BIOS there was something else wrong with it. I am sending it in soon for an RMA. I am going to sell the Deluxe II anyway so I might as well get the TBEX3 card fixed.<br><br>
Anyway, I installed the new drivers the same way as stated in the first post and everything seems to be working fine. I am still getting the bF or 6F q-code on the motherboard. I did some google-fu last year and it seems that a q-code of 01 means everything is running ok. No luck on 6F or bF yet. I did notice that if I turn the Thunderbolt setting SMI/Notify Support or SwSMI Support off in the BIOS then the q-code returns to AA.<br><br>
The new TBEX3 card also had the latest firmware installed so I didnt even have to run that.<br><br>
I have sent a request for information on the issue to ASUS, but it will most likely never be answered. If I hear anything back from them I will post it here!
 

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Intel Overclocker
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Discussion Starter #9
I forgot to mention that for Windows 7 it seems like you cannot install each driver separately. So using the asus installation program seemed to work fine in win 7.
 

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Thank you very much for taking the time to do this.<br>
So have you been able to use with no issues the thunderboltex 3 card with your Asus Rampage V edition MB? I have this board and just purchased the thunderboltEX 3 card, together with a g-shuttle speed raid system which I was hoping to connect to the card. But as soon as I did my purchase, I found out about all these issues everybody is having with this thunderbolt card. I am serioulsy thinking about cancelling my whole order, as there seems to be no other options currently in the market apart from the Asus thunderbolt card.<br><br>
Regarding the hotfix on the asus support page, do we have to install that together with the new drivers. I'm confused.<br><br>
Again, thanks for your time and effort in putting all this together
 

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<div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/t/1638843/how-to-install-asus-thunderbolt-3-card-on-an-asus-x99-mb/0_20#post_26528738" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>JMTH</strong> <a href="/t/1638843/how-to-install-asus-thunderbolt-3-card-on-an-asus-x99-mb/0_20#post_26528738"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif"></a><br><br>
Hello again all, its been a while since I posted here. I thought I would update everyone!<br><br>
New drivers and a firmware update have been posted on ASUS's site. <a class="bbcode_url" href="https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboard-Accessory/ThunderboltEX-3/HelpDesk_Download/" target="_blank">LINK</a><br><br>
It also looks like they posted a Hotfix on 12/27/2017.<br><br>
I was having a lot of problems with my Deluxe II board (bF and 01 q-codes from Thunderbolt Card, VCCSA voltage wouldnt show up in the BIOS or software) so I ended up having to RMA it. While it is in the repair shop I purchased a Rampage V Edition 10. Which also has the TB Header. I was also doing a couple of upgrades and just finished getting everything back together a few weeks ago.<br><br>
When I started working on my Overclock on the new board I started getting strange errors and problems with the TBEX3 card that came with the Deluxe II. I finally had to remove it and purchase a new one as the motherboard would not even detect it no matter what slot I installed it into. I was going to try and update the firmware but never got the chance. It had something to do with the latest update from Microsoft to Windows 10, but since it was not even detected in the BIOS there was something else wrong with it. I am sending it in soon for an RMA. I am going to sell the Deluxe II anyway so I might as well get the TBEX3 card fixed.<br><br>
Anyway, I installed the new drivers the same way as stated in the first post and everything seems to be working fine. I am still getting the bF or 6F q-code on the motherboard. I did some google-fu last year and it seems that a q-code of 01 means everything is running ok. No luck on 6F or bF yet. I did notice that if I turn the Thunderbolt setting SMI/Notify Support or SwSMI Support off in the BIOS then the q-code returns to AA.<br><br>
The new TBEX3 card also had the latest firmware installed so I didnt even have to run that.<br><br>
I have sent a request for information on the issue to ASUS, but it will most likely never be answered. If I hear anything back from them I will post it here!</div>
</div>
<br>
Thanks for this update. I may try to get my TB3 card working in my X99 Deluxe II again. I went to the Asus link you posted and there are 4 downloads there.<br>
TB3 Firmware Update Tool<br>
TB3 Hot Fix<br>
TB3 Intel Driver<br>
TB3 WHQL Driver<br><br>
So do I need them all, just the Hot Fix?, Just the Firmware update and either the Intel or WHQL driver? Is there a procedure for getting everything updated? I assume there are ZERO instructions from Asus, as usual when it come to these TB add in cards. The info you have provided is really appreciated. Thanks !
 

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Intel Overclocker
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<div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/t/1638843/how-to-install-asus-thunderbolt-3-card-on-an-asus-x99-mb/10#post_26557176" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>SpeedyIV</strong> <a href="/t/1638843/how-to-install-asus-thunderbolt-3-card-on-an-asus-x99-mb/10#post_26557176"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif"></a><br><br>
Thanks for this update. I may try to get my TB3 card working in my X99 Deluxe II again. I went to the Asus link you posted and there are 4 downloads there.<br>
TB3 Firmware Update Tool<br>
TB3 Hot Fix<br>
TB3 Intel Driver<br>
TB3 WHQL Driver<br><br>
So do I need them all, just the Hot Fix?, Just the Firmware update and either the Intel or WHQL driver? Is there a procedure for getting everything updated? I assume there are ZERO instructions from Asus, as usual when it come to these TB add in cards. The info you have provided is really appreciated. Thanks !</div>
</div>
<br>
You should only need two files, the Hotfix Version 17.2.71.250 and the Firmware update tool Version 1.0.0.15.<br><br>
If you already have the card installed with the original Version 15.3.39.250 and possibly Version 16.3.59.250 drivers you should be able to just run the Firmware update tool, then install the new driver.<br><br>
I was unable to test it though. The TB3 card that came with my Deluxe II board stopped working and would not let me install the Firmware update. So I had to send it in for an RMA.<br><br>
I did purchase a new TB3 card, but it came with the new firmware so all I did was install the new driver (over the old one, I did not even uninstall it) and it worked without having to go through all the steps in the first post. So the new driver looks like it has been written correctly, and we will not need to jump through hoops to get it working.
 

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Thanks. I don't even want to think about what I went through trying to get that card to work. I will dust it off and give this a try.
 

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Intel Overclocker
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Latest news in the saga that is TB3 hehe.

Back in late Oct or Nov I started to get a strange q-code popping up whenever I booted my computer with the TB enabled, "bF". Around the same time I was having issues with my ASUS X99 Deluxe-ii motherboard, so I decided to send it in for a RMA and purchase another mobo. Since I had already purchased the i7-6850k and 64GB of DDR4 Ram months earlier (beyond the point where I could return them), I decided to purchase another X99 mobo and chose the RVE10. After putting the system back together and eventually installing the TB3 card I had a new issue. The TB3 card that had come with my Deluxe-ii was not working at all. I tried every setting in the BIOS but nothing would bring it back to life. So I sent that card in for an RMA as well, and purchased a new card. Because I had decided to sell the Deluxe-ii and wanted everything that came with it originally to be in the box. Even though they repaired the mobo and replaced the TB3 card with another, all of the parts were still there.

Once I received the new card I plugged it in and it started working right away. I would say for the first 24 hours no matter how many times I rebooted I would get the all is well AA code every time. Then for no particular reason I can find it flipped to the bF q-code. Everything seems like it was still working ok, it still showed that 2 ports were available and all the information that the Thunderbolt Software shows you looked good.

I was perplexed, it took a while but eventually I figured out that it was. I started changing the BIOS settings to see if I could make it go away. Through trial and error I was able to pin it down to the "SwSMI Support" in the Thunderbolt sections of the BIOS. Turn the support off, and the normal all is good AA q-code. Turn the support on and bF every time.

Having pinned it to a specific setting in the BIOS I "thought" it would be a good idea to email ASUS support and see if I could get any help. That was on 1/2/2018. The first reply seemed like a joke. They said that if I wanted to know what the code meant, I should go to www.asusqcodes.com. Having already done that, and searched through hundreds of posts, I informed them that the information on that web site was not very useful and would they send my question to the next level of tech support.

The next response I received showed promise. They gave me specific instructions for the installation and BIOS settings for the TB3 card. One of those instructions was to install the TB3 card into PCI slot 2. Lucky for me I run a single video card so I was able to move it there. Another of the instructions was to set the "reserved IO per phy slot from 20 to 4. They also provided the link to the latest drivers, which had been updated. They also offered this in reference to my question about what bF meant.
"• "bf" means - The system is trying to hand over from the post process to the AHCI."

Since I already knew what the manual said bF was for I was a little confused on some of the responses I got. I then wrote the reply below and sent a few pictures.
"The standard q-code I get when everything is ok is AA not AO. I don’t even see an AO in the manual, but the q-code list seems to be out of date and/or severely lacking in information.
b8-bF says it’s for “Reserved for future AMI codes” in the manual.
If I turn off SwSMI support in the Thunderbolt section of the BIOS then the q-code returns to AA.
I have everything already set per the instructions below except “Reserved IO per phy slot – 4” its currently set at 20. Is there a reason it should be set to 4?"


To which I received a long string of no answers, but try this types of email.

"Make sure your Thunderbolt header is installed to the TB3 card and your motherboard"
"Make sure to attach the displayport cable from your onboard connector to the TB3 card"
"Have you reset your BIOS"
"Have you installed the latest BIOS"
"Have you installed the latest drivers"


To which all I stated yes, I have done all of those things.

After getting through about 5-6 of these emails I got fed up and again asked.
What does the q-code bF have to do with the TB3 SwSMI Support setting? Why does turning it off return my system to the normal AA q-code? Why do you want me to set Reserved IO per phy slot to 4?

I then received an email stating that the TB3 card is not compatible with the RVE10 motherboard. Which seems like it might be true. Its not listed on the TB3 cards page as one of the mobos that it can be used on.

My reply was:
"You have still not answered the questions that I sent in the first place. Before I outline all the questions again since no one actually reads the email chain I just want to point out something. On the Rampage V Edition 10 Motherboard QVL it lists ThunderboltEX II, ThunderboltEX II Dual, and ThunderboltEX III as compatible on page 52. That and the fact that it is installed on my RVE10 and working shows that the list you have is incorrect.

Now my questions again.

1. What is the context of Thunderbolt and the q-code bF, what does it mean? I have stated it goes back to “AA” if I turn off SwSMI support in the Thunderbolt section of the BIOS. It did this on my Deluxe II Motherboard and its again doing it on my RVE10 motherboard. Is this typical, is this ok, what does it mean?
2. "I have everything already set per the instructions below except “Reserved IO per phy slot – 4” its currently set at 20. Is there a reason it should be set to 4?""


The reply:
"Thank you for contacting ASUS product support. My name is Jhed C. and I am happy to be your new point of contact for this case.
I appreciate you taking the time to update me. I apologize if the initial steps did not resolve the issue. I want to assure you that we will continue to assist you in gaining a resolution.
At this point, I will be collaborating with our support staff so we can provide you an absolute resolution to your concern. Please allow us 24-72 hours to complete this. I will definitely provide you an update within the time frame."


Ooh, finally an escalation! Perhaps the "support staff" will have some insight, or do some testing! I thought, finally something will be done! I just had to wait a few days, and I would get an answer!

After 9 days of waiting, I sent in an email asking what gives. You said 24-72 hours, its been 9 days without a peep. Whats going on? Did you find something in testing?

The response:
"Thank you for contacting ASUS product support. My name is Ren M. and I am excited to take ownership of this case. I will be glad to assist you today.
Can I ask if your received this answer from our colleague? "For the Q-code, it's bF. For the ThunderboltEX3 controller, it's the JHL6540/6340 Series - "Alpine Ridge"""


I was stunned, *** is this person talking about. Those were not my questions, what is going on? So I sent the questions back in once again. To which I received another please wait 24-72 hours...

And then the reply...
"Thank you for contacting ASUS product support, my name is John S..
I am grateful for your time and patience as we go through the process of resolving your concern. I have engaged our support staff and we were able to come up with the best course of action given your case.
Please note to use the CMS KB post for Q Code table: [ Motherboard & Servers] KB1142016-3 Motherboard/ Server Qcode quick guide
The Q-code BF means Reserved for future AMI codes. While the Q-code AA means Reserved for ASL.
Kindly test the motherboard with minimal components, such as 1 CPU, 1 stick of RAM, 1 HDD with the graphics card to isolate the possible cause."


After banging my head against the wall a few times I wrote back:

"Hello,

You have again not answered the question and given me non-information, i.e. its useless.

1. What is the context of Thunderbolt and the q-code bF, what does it mean? I have stated it goes back to “AA” if I turn off SwSMI support in the Thunderbolt section of the BIOS. It did this on my Deluxe II Motherboard and its again doing it on my RVE10 motherboard. Is this typical, is this ok, what does it mean?
2. "I have everything already set per the instructions below except “Reserved IO per phy slot – 4” its currently set at 20. What is the reason it should be set to 4?"
Please take note that doing any type of search on the “AA” code and you get a response that the motherboard has handed over control to the operating system and there were no errors in the boot up sequence.
There was also this tidbit of information.
“Believe it or not, 'A A' is Mandarin and Taiwanese for A-OK. Confusion may arise by general assumption, that Q-codes are error codes. Well, in fact they are status codes (but some of them are error codes). Healthy cycle mostly ends with AA, but can change by awakening from sleep.”"


To which I got another please wait 24-72 hours before bugging us again...

The reply after 6 days... Your motherboard is not on the list for the TB3 card...

My reply:
"Wow you guys are good at going in circles. This is the 3rd time that you guys have stated this BS info. If you took the time to look through the entire email chain, which you have not, you would see that this is incorrect.

According to the RAMPAGE V EDITION 10 Compatibility Test Report Rev.1.0, section 3.3.4 Thunderbolt Expansion Cards on page 55 of 59 the Thunderbolt EX III is listed as compatible. The list that is linked to your website for the ThunderboltEX III is in error and/or incomplete. This is the third time I have sent this information back to you guys. Make a sticky note and quit using this BS reply instead of answering the questions I am sending you…

Once again here are my questions, answer them, don’t answer something I have not asked, just answer these specific questions… "


The reply "The Q-code BF means Reserved for future AMI codes."

A tiny bit heated I wrote back:
"Yes I know that’s what is listed in the manual… BUT that means NOTHING… When I ask what does it mean, I mean why is it giving me that q-code, what is the underlying problem, if any. Maybe it means that the card is running perfectly (which was a response from one of you) or maybe it means there is a Software System Management Interrupt (SwSMI) error… That is the information I am looking for, a technical response.

Also you did not answer the second question.

2. One of your instructions was to change Reserved IO per phy slot to 4. Its default setting is 20. What is the reason it should be set to 4?
Thanks again"


The response:
"Thank you for contacting ASUS product support. My name is Jhed C. and I am happy to be your new point of contact for this case.

I am writing to update you about your case. We are still working on a permanent resolution as we do not want to provide one that is half baked. We implore for your patience and assure you that we are working diligently to have your case closed."


Then on 1/28/2018:
"Thank you for contacting ASUS product support, my name is John S..

I appreciate your patience and for giving us time to come up with a resolution for your case. After collaborating with our support staff, we are now able to provide you with a recommendation on how to address your concern.

Kindly fill out the feedback form (https://goo.gl/K8384K) with your best knowledge, we will try to verify the issue in our lab and with the screenshot we will let quality team test this code"


Once again I get my hopes up. I filled out the form. I took screenshots of anything and everything that had to do with the TB3. Over 170 screenshots and pictures... Every single detail I could find...

Then on 2/2/2018 another request for me to fill out the form. Ok maybe they did not get my files, so I send them again...

21 days later... I get the exact same installation instructions that I got on 1/3/2018... From the same person... What the heck is going on hehe lol like really. I dont get it hehe

So I sent them all the files, information, and questions again. Also letting them know that I already had those instructions and had followed them. That was the last I heard from them. Not a single response. I pretty much gave up.
 

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Intel Overclocker
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204 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
OK so I didnt want to clog up the rant above (the SwSMI Support / bF q-code) with the other issues that I still have.

Issue 2: At some point, no idea when, the USB port on the TB3 card stopped working. I have been unable to do anything to fix that one yet. Edit2: Looks like the pass through video signal is also not working as well.

Issue 3: The cold boot 01 issue. <--- Edit1 not b1, should be 01

So this is another TB3 issue hehe I guess I am just a glutton. I havent tested in a few weeks but as of 2 weeks ago it still happens.

If I shut off my computer for the night, the next day 100% of the time the BIOS will not see the TB3 card and will give me a 01 q-code error.

To fix it usually takes about an hour of turning the TB off and on in the BIOS, as well as unplugging and re-plugging in a device attached to the TB3 card. After around 10 reboots the BIOS wakes up or the TB3 card warms up hehe or whatever it is and it sees that its installed and then works perfectly. As long and you dont turn the computer off at night, you can reboot 100 times and the TB3 will still show up, and work just fine. Turn the computer off and blamo, it forgets and you have to go through the hour of messing with settings and rebooting until it wakes up again.

Edit3: I finally remembered that all you usually have to do is to power down the computer, unplug the psu power cord, hit the power button a few times, plug the psu power cable back in, and finally turn it on. This fixes it like 98% of the time. If it didnt fix it, just do it again.

Normally I would just put the computer to sleep, but once I switched mobos to the RVE10 sleep just doesn't work correctly. I dont think this has anything to do with the TB3 card, just something with the BIOS or Win10 or who knows what lol. Whenever I put the computer to sleep, when it wakes up the fans spin to 100% and do not adjust at all until you reboot the computer. Which is annoying.

So to "fix" the Fan speed and the 01/TB3 issue I just leave my computer on all the time.

Thats all I have for today hehe I have been meaning to update the thread for some time, I just wanted to post with the answers though... Thats not going to happen, so you get what you have now heheh
 

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First let me say thank you.
My system: Windows 7 Pro 64, Asus X99-A II motherboard, 40 lane 6 core Intel CPU, EVGA 1070 GPU, 1TB Samsung 850 EVO system drive, 1TB Samsung 960 pro SSD, 64 GIG ram Q code AA, Thunderbolt III add in card.

I have the card installed and followed all the settings for the BIOS the card shows up in the advanced interface of the UEIF.

I Have all of the access to the system tray and the card is accessed from the programs menu.

My goal was to use a Wacom 16 inch Cintiq Pro Pen Display for art work that requires a USB 3.1 C socket with Display-Port pass-through to give the artist the full 4K capabilities on a windows PC. and that is what the Thunderbolt add in card is supposed to do and much more.
Before I spent the $1499.95 for the Cintiq I have an old school pro monitor that is a 2K and so I purchased a 4K cable to go from the C/Display port to a slandered display port but I cannot get any display signal to the monitor.
Could I ask those of you that have got the thunderbolt card to work..... what do you use it for (a display or chain link storage devices or device)?
Or if any of you have got it to supply a monitor with a video signal and fire up your monitor?

I have to take that back I just had a system freeze on start up and the PC asked if I wanted to use a restore point and so I did now the thunderbolt card shows up in the Advance settings but does not show up in the start/program menu or the system tray.
it is 12:55 P M and I am a little loopy at this point being up sense 4:20 A M

Thanks in advance Jin or bizejim
 

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Intel Overclocker
Joined
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204 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
First let me say thank you.
My system: Windows 7 Pro 64, Asus X99-A II motherboard, 40 lane 6 core Intel CPU, EVGA 1070 GPU, 1TB Samsung 850 EVO system drive, 1TB Samsung 960 pro SSD, 64 GIG ram Q code AA, Thunderbolt III add in card.

I have the card installed and followed all the settings for the BIOS the card shows up in the advanced interface of the UEIF.

I Have all of the access to the system tray and the card is accessed from the programs menu.

My goal was to use a Wacom 16 inch Cintiq Pro Pen Display for art work that requires a USB 3.1 C socket with Display-Port pass-through to give the artist the full 4K capabilities on a windows PC. and that is what the Thunderbolt add in card is supposed to do and much more.
Before I spent the $1499.95 for the Cintiq I have an old school pro monitor that is a 2K and so I purchased a 4K cable to go from the C/Display port to a slandered display port but I cannot get any display signal to the monitor.
Could I ask those of you that have got the thunderbolt card to work..... what do you use it for (a display or chain link storage devices or device)?
Or if any of you have got it to supply a monitor with a video signal and fire up your monitor?

I have to take that back I just had a system freeze on start up and the PC asked if I wanted to use a restore point and so I did now the thunderbolt card shows up in the Advance settings but does not show up in the start/program menu or the system tray.
it is 12:55 P M and I am a little loopy at this point being up sense 4:20 A M

Thanks in advance Jin or bizejim
I believe I have solved the issue. No one will like it but I did it last week and it's been rock solid, except for some PCIE lane issues my RVE10 is having, since I installed it in the right slot.

1. Power down your pc and unplug the psu power cord.
2. Remove the ASUS TB3 card.
3. Throw that buggy piece of **** in the trash, or sell it on eBay, to a friend that you don't really like, shoot it, run it over with your car, light it on fire, or try and get a refund.
4. OK this is really step 1 but it doesn't have the same effect as the 3 above. Anyway, purchase yourself a Gigabyte GC-Alpine Ridge Rev 2.0 card on Amazon for around $60 bucks.
5. Install the GB GC-AR card in the same slot as you pulled your TB3 card from. Plug the TB header cable from the card to mobo.
6. Plug your TB devices in.
7. Plug your psu back in and turn your pc back on.
8. Go into the BIOS and make sure your TB is on, and is recognized as connected at x4 and set slot to Gen 3.
9. You might or might not get a BSOD or 2 as your PCIe lane switches figure out what to route where. If you get a Q-code 51 or 01 shut down, pull power cord, push power button a few times, plug the cord back in, turn the computer back on,turn computer back on.
10. Check your TB in the software, if all is well then you should be good to go.
11. If something isn't working or your monitor isn't working, you will prob need to switch slots. I had to move mine from slot 2 to slot 6 to get it to work right. The RVE10 has some PCIe switching problems.
12. No need to uninstall the latest ASUS TB software or do anything really. It should just work, like the ASUS card should lol but doesn't.

I'll probably fix instructions make them more clear tomorrow, but order the Gigabyte card, it actually works.
 

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This is probably the best advice I have read yet concerning ASUS TB cards. I spent untold hours trying to get mine to work, in a rig with a 28-lane CPU and 2 GPUs. I was not successful. I never did go back and try all the great steps you posted earlier. I don't really need TB. The card came with my X99 Deluxe II and I figured since I paid for it, I might as well hook it up and get it going. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Asus has nerve even offering this card as they have provided absolutely NO support for it. What I (and you) went through is insane. If I ever have a need for TB, I will definitely heed your latest advice.

Step 1 - Throw Asus TB card in trash can.
Step 2 - Buy anything else.

Thanks again for posting all of this great info. You almost convinced me to try again, but I just could not bring myself to get into it again. Then I saw your last post, and it's the best advice yet. As for Asus, that is Strike II. Lying about a hardware revision to the Maximus X HERO WIFI motherboards that resulted in the loss of VRM temp monitoring was Strike 1...
 

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Intel Overclocker
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204 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
No problem, it's been a crazy ride. I too started with the Deluxe-ii and wanted it to work just because. I have since purchased a TB3 external ssd, just have not received it yet hehe.

Your right about ASUS tech support, they have no clue what they need to do with regard to TB3. Not that I think Gigabyte does either, the documentation that comes with the card is about the same as ASUS's, and the driver on GB's TB3 page is like 3-4 back when compared to ASUS's. Although the firmware running on the GB card is 2 ahead of AUSU's.

So, it looks like none of these vendors have a clue. I have a theory about ASUS's card though, but I don't even know if I care enough to test it. When I was troubleshooting the card, I had a 32GB USB stuck plugged in for maybe 20 mins at one point,it never recognized it BTW. When I went to remove it it was hot to the touch, like way hot, not burning the skin, but uncomfortable to hold. I also noticed that the L-bracket was pretty warm as well. I had also just repaired my Onkyo receiver the week before. Yeah I know I'm taking the story all over the place, but bear with me.
Anyway, my Onkyo was having intermittent issues with the sound. After doing a bunch of searching I was able to find out that Onkyo had messed up the design of the HDMI card and was pumping in too much voltage to a DAC BGA. Which was causing the BGA to heat up so much it would melt the Solder, then when you turned the system off you would get Solder cracks and eventually it would open and not work.

I think that something like that is happening with the ASUS TB3 card, this is the 2nd card that initially worked great, but then after a month or so would crap out. I have read about this behavior on a few other forums as well.

Since my "new" 3 month old ASUS TB3 card looks like it's broken, I'll have to send it in for an RMA before I can unload it on eBay. Before I send it out I'll take a look and see if I can spot any heat damage or Solder where it shouldn't be.
 

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WOW!! So in addition to wasting hours (ok days) of my life trying to get this buggy POS working, now I have to worry about it bursting into flames?!? I fought with that card for DAYS before I gave up. Reading through all of your posts, I don't feel so bad, and you took the battle way further than I got. I am going to stick with your latest procedure, which starts with throwing the Asus TB card in the trash. I am not even going to attempt to get it working. If I ever have a real reason to add TB to my system, I will buy a Gigabyte card.

Thank you again for posting all of this. It seems that not many people actually try to get TB working. I don't know how many motherboards came bundled with a TB card, but I suspect that Asus will quietly stop selling them. I think its a case of the marketing department wanting to have TB option so they can add it to the list of features. They probably OEM the TB card from somewhere else. They obviously did not put much effort into making sure it worked. Shame on you Asus.
 
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