XPS 8500 Front USB 3.0 Port Problems

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XPS 8500 Front USB 3.0 Port Problems

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The front USB 3.0 ports on the XPS 8500 are giving me trouble, and from what I can tell, it stems from a physical problem with the port hardware.

I can acquire and maintain a 3.0 connection when I plug either my WD Passport drive or a Rocketfish powered hub into the rear ports. Plugged into the front however, I can sometimes get 3.0, sometimes only 2.0 and even rarely get no connection at all. Also, whatever connection I do get in the front, if I just barely move (as in touch) the cable or plug, the connection can change back and forth from 2.0 to 3.0. That will make writing to a 3.0 portable drive in the front impossible.

I have noticed that the physical connection of USB plug to the port is more solid in the rear than the front. A cable plugged into a rear 3.0 port is able to travel farther in and the rubber surrounding the cable plug contacts the back of the computer. On the front ports, the connector doesn't travel in as far, and the rubber of the USB connector is about 1-2 mm from the computer front cover. A 3.0 cable plugged into the front can wiggle much more than one at the rear port. I should mention that I have no trouble with USB 2.0 cables or devices in these front ports.

This is not a driver problem, it is a problem of the 3.0 plug not making solid contact in the port. Dell needs to stop using the current front port hardware and find a more appropriate part. Then they can replace all the front ports on the XPS 8500's already shipped.

Verified Answer
  • My trouble with the XPS 8500 front USB 3.0 ports seems to have been solved by new cables. However, my  original assessment of the front ports being overly loose, making it difficult to get good 3.0 connections still holds up. To save their customers and themselves numerous headaches, Dell needs to find a replacement part for those problematic front ports.

    All I had to test this with was a year-old WD Passport 3.0 HDD and a new Rocketfish powered 3.0 hub. Using the original cables, these devices connected well to the rear ports, but not the front. If I held the plug and pressed firmly into a front port, I could sometimes get a 3.0 connection--though as soon as I let go of the plug I would lose the 3.0 connection and it would immediately reconnect as a 2.0 device.

    I purchased a 3.0 A to mini-B cable for direct use with the WD drive and a 3.0 extension cable A-male to female for general use. These cables make very positive connections and seem to help compensate for the looseness of the front ports. I can use them in any combination on the front (or back, of course).

    You might think the problem was just the cables and had nothing to do with the front ports. However, if I plugged the new extension cable into the front, I could then connect the WD drive to that using the original cable that wouldn't connect directly to the front. That tells me the connection sturdiness of both the front port and the original cable was weak. Trying to connect these two weak points directly was problematic. The solid connectors of the new cable used between the two weak points allowed for a good connection. This, and the fact that the original WD and Rocketfish cables connected to the rear 3.0 ports with no problem, points directly to the front ports being a part of the problem.

All Replies
  • You've assumed everybody has the exact same problem with the front USB 3.0 port on the XPS 8500, rather than it being a problem uniqure to your system.

    This system should be under warranty so contact Dell Tech Support to arrange for repair...

    If this answers your question, please click  Yes  

    Ron

    Forum Member since 2004

    I am NOT a Dell employee

  • I don't mean to assume that EVERYBODY has the same problem, but I assure you it is not unique to my system. All current XPS 8500's have the same 2 USB 3.0 ports in the front. This is my second one with the same problem. I doubt Dell used this particular part on only my 2 systems.

    I am in contact with a Dell employee charged with recreating the USB 3.0 problems I am having so that the engineers can determine if there is a problem and what can be done. With all that work being behind the scenes, and knowing that some people are having USB 3.0 problems with the 8500's, I wanted to start a thread on this particular problem for the information of others and a place where they can post similar experiences.

  • I'm also having a problem with the rear USB 3.0 ports on a new XPS 8500. For me, when I restart the computer, the attached WD MyBook 2.0 TB hard drive (with its own power supply) is not recognized. However, when I power the hard drive off and on, it shows up. Anybody else experiencing this one?

  • I am also having problems with USB3.0 ports (both rear and front) that do not recognize my WD mypassport (USB3 compatible). However, the usb3 ports recognize usb2 devices without any problems.  I found that the following procedure is working:

    1) connect the WD mypassport (usb3 device) to a usb3 port -->PC does not recognize the device.

    2)connect a regular usb2 device to the other usb3. That is, one usb3 port with WD mypassport and other usb3 port with a standard usb2 device-->Now, both devices (usb2 and usb3) are recognized by the PC. I can remove the usb2 device and the WD mypassport (usb3 device) is still available. I have made a rough transmission rate test to the WD mypassport and I am getting between 80 to 100 MB/sec. It seems that the usb2 device is triggering the usb recognition procedure? Why is that? Any suggestions?  My question is if there is a problem with the XPS 8500 usb3 ports or if there is a problem with the usb3 implementation in the WD mypassport.  Before I go back to DEll, I would need some more proof that the USB3 ports are not working properly.

    If I connect the WD mypassport to a USB2 port, it is immediatly recognized and I get the message about "improved performance....".

  • I spent some time on the phone with WD. They're guess is that the WD drive needs a firmware update. Given that the most recent firmward for the MyBook 3.0 was 2010, and the fact that the data may be wiped out during the upgrade, I decided to buy the newer MyBook Essential 3.0 (which has very recent firmware updates) and see if the problem goes away. I'll update in a few days.

  • Really looking forward to your experience with the new Western Digital HDD. I have updated the firmware for the WD mypassport essential and I still have problems with the initial recognition of the HDD when it is connected to the usb3 port. I could see in the release notes that they mention fixing problems with the intel board...but I still have problems.

  • There's a new version (A06) of BIOS available for the XPS 8500 with a number of fixes and improvements, though it doesn't appear that any of them addresses issues with USB like those mentioned here.

    If this answers your question, please click  Yes  

    Ron

    Forum Member since 2004

    I am NOT a Dell employee

  • FWIW - The Dell tech support guy made sure my BIOS was up to date and deleted and reinstalled the USB drivers to make sure that I had the most up to date "stuff." [This was on June 18.] Unfortunately, the problem persisted.

  • Joe Fonebone

    FWIW - The Dell tech support guy made sure my BIOS was up to date and deleted and reinstalled the USB drivers to make sure that I had the most up to date "stuff." [This was on June 18.] Unfortunately, the problem persisted.

    BIOS A6 was released June 19, 2010. But like I said, no updates for USB support are on the list of fixes and improvements .

    If this answers your question, please click  Yes  

    Ron

    Forum Member since 2004

    I am NOT a Dell employee

  • I cannot see any information about new bios release for XPS 8500 at Dell Support Center....

  • AndreSmo

    I cannot see any information about new bios release for XPS 8500 at Dell Support Center....

    Did you click on the "BIOS" link in one of my previous posts? That takes you directly to the BIOS A6 page. The page lists Fixes and Enhancements in this new version. The Compatibility link says it's for Vostro 470 and XPS 8500.

    If this answers your question, please click  Yes  

    Ron

    Forum Member since 2004

    I am NOT a Dell employee

  • I replaced my MyBook 3.0 2TB with the newer MyBook Essential 3.0 2 TB (MBE) and made sure firmware was most recent version. The MBE showed up in the My Computer window and the drivers installed when I plugged it in. I then restarted the XPS 8500, and the MBE remained mounted. My amatuer conclusion - the firmware for the MyBook 3.0 (most recently updated in 2010) does not play nice with the USB drivers associated with my XPS 8500. In case it helps, my XPS 8500 has the i7 3770 CPU and is running Windows 7 Pro. Also, as I noted before, my BIOS is the version just prior to the most recent (June 18 I think) and the USB drivers are up to date.

    I'll re-post to this thread if the problem re-appears. With my luck, that will be 5 minutes after I hit the "post" button.

  • Hi Joe

    I am trying to find out which external HDDs are compatible with XPS 8500 using USB3. Here are some questions about your ne HDD: Is your MyBook Essential still working properly? Have you checked if it is working in both the front and back ports? Have you tried to perform a complete backup (system image + data) to the MyBook? Are you using windows 7 backup?

  • Funny you should ask. The MyBook Essentials are both working fine, although I’m only using the rear USB 3.0 ports. Interestingly, when I first plugged in the new one (which replaced the MyBook), it was not recognized (front or back). I plugged it into another computer to see if the MBE was actually functioning and it was recognized. I then plugged it back into the XPS 8500 and it was recognized, and has been since. Who knows what is going on there.

    Regarding the windows 7 backup, it will not run on my XPS 8500 period. When I click on the backup buttons in the control panel, nothing happens. My computer was shipped with Home and an upgrade code to Professional, and I ran the upgrade. I have spent over 20 hours on phone with all levels of Dell “support” and “solutions” (“support” is apparently only for people who cant connect a printer, etc.), and another 10 reinstalling and resetting up per one of their bright ideas that didn’t pan out. The verdict appears to be that my windows 7 is somehow corrupted, maybe by the Home to Professional upgrade. I will be attempting to return the computer and get a replacement 8500, with windows 7 pro preinstalled, in a few minutes.

  • I think the USB3.0 connections are not reliable. The front connections (most often) do not recognize USB3.0 devices (I have tried with WD HDD and with a corsair pen drive). Sometimes if I plug one usb2 device and one usb3 device side by side on the front , the XPS  may recognize both.......I never know, when it works or not and what is causing what....not reliable! I am not sure how to proceed with this annoying issue!

     I want some USB3.0 device that works in a reliable way with XPS 8500. Currently, it is like a lottery with USB 3 devices. I wish that Dell had some kind of certification/recommendation for USB3.0 devices.