1 2 Previous Next 20 Replies Latest reply on Sep 29, 2016 11:13 AM by ivanu_intel

    Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?

    Steve_R

      Hi Everyone,

       

      I've been experimenting with a NUC D54250WYK for a few weeks now with the intention of setting up a

      low-power home server. I've given it 16GB of RAM, a 60GB mSATA drive for the operating system and

      4 USB 3.0 drives for storage. (2.5" USB3.0 WD elements drives, power via USB (225mA), auto-spin-down

      when idle - which is fine for my requirements)

      I've installed FreeBSD 10 and I'm using ZFS with RAIDZ2 on the 4 USB drives, and everything seems to

      work... almost.

       

      Every 7-10 days one or more of the drives either reports write errors, or completely disconnects itself

      (i.e. is no longer visible to the OS). ZFS handles the errors gracefully and I can get the drive(s) back by

      physically disconnecting them and re-connecting them again, but this kind of problem makes it impossible

      to rely on this machine "just running in the background".

      I don't have enough statistics to isolate individual drives or ports which might be causing the problems

      - so far it seems to randomly affect 1-2 drives at a random point in time.

      The OS is NOT configured to sleep at all - except for the drives going idle (handled by the drive firmware)

       

      Are the NUC's USB ports designed for permanent use? Am I going beyond the NUC's specifications?

      Are there any tricks for increasing the reliability of USB devices for long-term use?

      (I've tried changing the drive's power settings for example, but still get the same behaviour)

      Could I expect better results from another drive manufacturer or is this typical USB behaviour?

      If so, what should I be looking for?

      Is this a general problem with external drives? Is this even a feasible concept?

       

      Thanks in advance,

       

      Steve

      PS: I also had the "D34010WYK does neither boot from USB 3.0 nor boots with plugged USB 3.0 drive" issue (https://communities.intel.com/thread/46549) and although I"m locked out of the BIOS at the moment,

      the OS itself seems to be running quite stably now.

        • 1. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
          sylvia_intel

          Hello Steve, thanks for all the information provided. We haven’t tested this configuration, however, I’m wondering how you connected the 4 USB 3.0 drives to the NUC?

          Are you using a splitter, or the internal USB heater?

          • 2. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
            Steve_R

            Hi Silvia,

             

            the D54250WYK has 4 external USB 3.0 ports and 2 internal headers.

            I'm just using the external ports, no extra HUB or internal hacks.

            I had a USB keyboard, mouse & mini-DVI screen connected while I was setting it up

            but once it was stable I was able to do everything via SSH and I plugged a drive in

            each USB port (and RAIDZ2 lets me disconnect one of the drives at any time

            without risking data loss, so if I need to hook up the keyboard again it's no problem).

            Don't forget that it boots from the internal mSATA disk, so the 4 external disks

            are really only holding data, nothing which the machine needs to run.

             

            Over the last 6 weeks I've had disks drop-out on me about 5 times - the last time was

            about 4 days ago.

             

            If intel is using this information for new ideas, I'm only using this hacked-together setup

            because I didn't find anything like a NUC with room for 4, 2.5" disks and a very small

            footprint and power requirement. I've measured my system and it idles at just under 11W

            and never goes above 35W, no matter how hard I push it (although I'm not doing anything

            with graphics). I'd love to see a NUC with room for 4, 2.5" disks (via SATA? hot pluggable?).

            At least on paper this seems like the way to go, if I can make it reliable.

             

            Thanks in advance,

             

            Steve

            • 3. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
              rex65

              Steve,

              I have a similar issue with the USB hard drive unmounting at random times. I use it to store data also but am using Ubuntu. I have a Seagate 4TB USB 3 drive powered by mains. Have to reboot the NUC to get it working again. I've only tried the one drive so don't know if it's a usb or drive issue but after your post..... As I use the NUC as a HTPC to record live TV it is a major issue for me.

              • 4. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
                sylvia_intel

                This could be a driver situation, since we have only drivers for Windows.   I would recommend you to contact a Linux community in order to find out if there are drivers available.

                 

                Just in case, you can try this configuration on a Windows environment.  Something very important is that USB 3.0 drivers for Windows 8 and 8.1 are provided by Microsoft.

                • 5. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
                  Steve_R

                  It's been about a month, so here's an update of my situation:

                   

                  I still can't access the NUC's BIOS. I'm still running BIOS version 24 - I've downloaded version 25 but haven't tried it yet, for fears that it may lock me out completely. The release notes don't indicate that it allows the resetting of the "detect USB" settings and I've read of other people having USB problems after installing it. So for now, I'm not touching my running system :-)

                   

                  That said, the machine is happily running freeBSD 10.0 and seems to be settling down.

                  Since my last post I've changed the configuration of the USB drives to be always on (i.e. not in low-power mode) and I wrote a script to randomly write and delete files to fill up the disks completely. It seems that ZFS has found all of the bad blocks now and seems to be running stably. The USB drives also haven't "disappeared" for about 3 weeks now. So it's looking good (although it would be better if the low-power settings would work, I might try them again soon, now that everything seems to be settling down)

                   

                  I am still hoping that there will be an update to the BIOS which lets me reset the "detect USB" settings.

                  Sylvia? Any news?

                   

                  Thanks in advance,

                   

                  Steve_R

                  • 6. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
                    Nas

                    Hi Sylvia

                     

                    I'm having very similar problems. I have tried 3 different external RAID drives over USB 3.0. They all work well on both Windows and Linux when connected to my laptop. They all fail to stay connected in the long term when connected to the D54250WYK. If I set the spin down time on the Netstor NR710C RAID box to 1 minute on the box's hardware setting, the NUC can easily bring the RAID back to spin up, showing the Ubuntu 14.04 OS is correctly doing its thing. All working as it should. The OS is set to not power down anything USB related by changing files at GRUB level and through an application called TLP by Linunner.

                     

                    BUT if the D54250WYK is left for an hour or so after the NR710C has spun down, it disconnects from the NUC. This disconnect won't happen if I set the NR710C hardware to not spin down, i.e. exactly as Steve described.

                     

                    I can see the USB power lights for other connected devices, such as a USB TV Tuner drop as well after this period, and that usually means the RAID will be disconnected.

                     

                    Like Steve, the OS is set to maximum power/performance. I have the latest 25 BIOS installed.

                     

                    Given that I purchased the NUC as a low energy home server, having a RAID box permanently on and using power makes this an unsustainable situation.

                     

                    I've set the NUC for maximum performance in the BIOS and have tried toggling both the ACPI and ASPM in the BIOS to no avail.

                     

                    I bought the D54250WYK on the basis of a Intel paper on using the NUC as a HTPC with Linux, but it cannot currently function like this at scale.

                     

                    I've also found similar complaints online. I would be very grateful to find out when I like Steve will get an update to the BIOS that doesn't drop USB 3.0.

                     

                    Many thanks

                     

                    Nas

                    • 7. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
                      sylvia_intel

                      Nas, thanks for contacting us through the Intel Communities and for choosing our products.

                      First of all it is very important to know if your NUC works when you use minimum configuration on a Windows environment. That means memory, an SSD, keyboard and mouse.


                      Bear in mind that we tried to make as many third party components compatible as possible, but we cannot always guarantee compatibility. Also, please take into consideration that NUC were meant to be use as Desktop systems, no servers.


                      Regarding the USB 3.0 issue, I already sent this request to our engineers in order to find out if a new driver or BIOS would be releases soon.

                      • 8. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
                        Nas

                        Hi Sylvia, thanks for the response. Apologies, but I should have made it clear, the NUC is being used as a HTPC. It works fine with the mouse, memory, keyboard and SSD, the problem is specific to external storage.

                         

                        Not being able to attach external storage means it cannot be used as a HTPC as per the Intel white paper. This is a main use case for the device as I'm sure you know.

                         

                        Any timelines as to when the fix is coming, as doing an RMA has a deadline, and no one obviously wants to be stuck with a device they cannot use.

                         

                        Thanks

                         

                        Nas

                        • 9. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
                          sylvia_intel


                          Nas, I’m still waiting for a resolution. I do not have an estimate time but you can keep checking this post for updates.


                          • 10. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
                            Nas

                            Default non-answer from Intel support

                            {ticketno:[8000921532]} - Your Intel Customer Support Inquiry

                             

                             

                             

                            support.replies@mailbox.intel.comTo Me

                             

                            https://uk-mg42.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch

                            Today at 11:14 AM

                             

                             

                            Dear Mr Ali,

                            Thank you for contacting Intel® Customer Support.

                            Unfortunately intel does not have information about possible future fixes.
                            Please note that not all USB devices are compatible with the NUCs due to power requirements.
                            We can only recommend to install latest BIOS/driver versions and use tested peripherals.

                            Thank you for understanding.

                            If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

                            Kind Regards,
                            ========
                            Intel Customer Support
                            Nuno   ~~START~~

                            A representative of Intel may subsequently contact you by email in order to obtain your feedback on the quality of the support you received.

                             

                            Agent is under contract to Intel.

                            • 11. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
                              sylvia_intel

                              Nas, we are working on this so we can provide a solution for our customers.

                               

                              • 12. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
                                Nas

                                Hi Sylvia

                                 

                                Any updates, timelines that you can report on? It's been a month.

                                 

                                Thanks

                                 

                                Nas

                                • 13. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
                                  Zazinow

                                  Hi Sylvia

                                   

                                  I just bought a 54250wyk and was searching for a solution to a very similar issue as the one you are talking about.
                                  I have a Seagate Fast 4tb usb3 drive powered by USB, and every time I shut down my NUC and start it up again the next day, the drive won't come up again, and I have to switch between the USB ports until it connects. It doesn't even matter if I disconnect the drive before shutdown, it won't connect to the same USB port as the day before, I have to use another every time. This only happens with the NUC, and not my other computers. All my computers are running Win7. My wireless mouse and keyboard have no issues.

                                   

                                  rex65, I see that you also have a Seagate 4tb with similar issue, have you found a solution for your issue?

                                   

                                  Thanks

                                   

                                  Zazinow

                                  • 14. Re: Are the NUC's USB3.0 ports suitable for long-term use?
                                    rex65

                                    My problem went away after I swapped the seagate drive for a western digital drive. No issues with the WD 4TB drive since installed, probably a month ago.

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