Well that was useless. Just talked to "Marvin" on tech support and he couldn't help at all. He did reassure me that the issue would be fixed but when? And what recompense do I get for intel selling me a basically useless product?
Try changing the xHCI mode in BIOS for the USB configuration in Devices, USB. Additionally, you may try using an extender USB cable.
keyboard/mouse receiver is already on a usb extension.
Disabling xHCI in the bios (249) and thereby pushing all the USB ports back to 2.0 seems to address my problem.
This said, it's very disappointing to lose the speed of USB 3.0 as i have a usb3 external drive.