jeverett_syl
1 Nickel

RE: XPS 15 9550, Thunderbolt NVM firmware issue with Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter

I also have an Asus X99 motherboard with a TB3 adapter card (ThunderboltEX 3). It has Thunderbolt 3 (1577) hardware, with PD Firmware version 1.07.00. I thought I tested it with the Apple TB3-TB2 adapter and it didn't work (which is what made me suspect NVM 16), but I'll retest it to see if we can get more data on the compatibility failure to "1575 vs. 1577" /  "PD 1.02 vs PD 1.07" / "NVM 16 vs. NVM 18" patterns.

Well, I retested and the Asus worked. Here's the TB2 AKiTiO dock hanging off the Apple adapter connected to the Asus ThunderboltEX 3 (and the Thunderbolt 3 firmware/driver details for the Asus system):

            

So, the Apple TB3-TB2 adapter works fine on the Intel NUC6i7KYK with NVM 18 (and PD 1.07), and it works fine on the Asus ThunderboltEX 3 with NVM 16 (and PD 1.07).

However, it still doesn't work on the Dell XPS 15 9550 with NVM 16 (and PD 1.02.06).

I guess NVM 16 isn't the critical problem; maybe PD < 1.07 is.

I wonder if a PD firmware upgrade (to 1.07) could fix the Dell XPS 15 9550 incompatibility, or if that lag in firmware version reflects a lack in hardware/chipset that can't be fixed -- and if Dell simply isn't coming forward with the acknowledgement that the Thunderbolt 3 hardware they designed and sold with the XPS 15 9550, unlike every other hardware I've tested so far, isn't compatible with other Thunderbolt 3 devices.

FWIW, when I plug the Thunderbolt chain (of Apple TB3-TB2 adapter and AKiTiO Thunder Dock 2) into the Dell XPS 15 9550, I get this error:

which when clicked, links to this page:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt628692(v=vs.85).aspx#_5

which offers the "possible cause" of:

  • You have connected a device with new USB Type-C features that are not supported by your system.

And again, the exact same Thunderbolt hardware/combo works fine on my two other WIndows 10 Thunderbolt 3 systems, namely:

the Intel NUC6i7KYK

and

an Asus ThunderboltEX 3 in an Asus Sabertooth X99 motherboard.

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Wavetrain
1 Nickel

RE: XPS 15 9550, Thunderbolt NVM firmware issue with Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter

FWIW so far.. NVM version has nothing to do with it. I have two HP ZBook laptops with different NVM versions and everything is just plug and play. PD version perhaps, but at the same time PD versions depends of the HARDWARE version. PD firmware on 1575 is 1.02.06 where PD firmware on 1577 is 1.07.03 That being said, maybe we are chasing ghosts, maybe 1575 cannot deliver the powers of 1577? If that is the case, I just need to know so I can move on and sell what I can. Its killing my workflow and productivity. And I am DYING to find out what devices actually do work with 1575 PD 1.02.06 if any.

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jeverett_syl
1 Nickel

RE: XPS 15 9550, Thunderbolt NVM firmware issue with Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter

...PD version perhaps, but at the same time PD versions depends of the HARDWARE version. PD firmware on 1575 is 1.02.06 where PD firmware on 1577 is 1.07.03 That being said, maybe we are chasing ghosts, maybe 1575 cannot deliver the powers of 1577?

Keep in mind that my Intel NUC6i7KYK is also 1575, but it has PD 1.07.03, unlike the XPS 15 9550, which has only 1.02.06:

Although I don't have exact details from what I can gather I think that Thunderbolt 3 hardware design is something like this:

  1. There is a core Intel Thunderbolt chip, which seems to be either a:
    1. "Alpine Ridge" chips, including chips like the DSL6340/DSL6540
      described here: ark.intel.com/.../Alpine-Ridge
    2. Or a DSL5110 chip,
      described here: https://ark.intel.com/products/78941/Intel-DSL5110-Thunderbolt-Controller
  2. Then, there are also subsidiary support chips, like Texas Instruments USB-C (Power Delivery) chips, such as these:
    1. The first generation TI TPS65982
      described here: http://www.ti.com/product/TPS65982 
    2. The second generation TI TPS65983  
      Described here: http://www.ti.com/product/TPS65983  

I think maybe (given the outputs from HWiNFO64)  that the XPS 15 9550 and the NUC6i7KYK are made with the DSL5110 chip, where as my Asus ThunderboltEX 3 is made with a DSL6540. The DSL5110 is what seems to show up as "(1575)" while the DSL6540/DSL6340 show up as "(1577)".

However, while the XPS 15 9550 and the NUC6i7KYK both appear to have the same core Thunderbolt DSL5110 / 1575 chip, given the different PD firmware (and assuming that firmware is tied to hardware differences), it looks like Dell put in an older TI TPS65982 PD chip in the XPS 15 9550, rather than a newer TI TPS65983 PD chip, like Intel put into the NUC6i7KYK and perhaps HP put into your laptops.

I think this older TI TPS65982 PD chip might be the one causing the compatibility problems, as indeed this is the problem identified by other vendors who have acknowledged problems with their hardware, such as Pluggable and AKiTiO:

https://www.akitio.com/blog/articles/akitio-thunderbolt3-devices-macbook-pro

http://plugable.com/thunderbolt-3

If this is indeed the problem, it would be nice if Dell would admit and explain the problem, and offer some sort of trade-in to newer hardware that has corrected this compatibility problem -- especially since this compatibility problem seems to be one that just about every other vendor (Intel, Asus, HP, etc.) seem to have been able to avoid. If Dell made the wrong design choice here, they should own up to it and offer a fix for it.


 

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fisherwei
1 Copper

RE: XPS 15 9550, Thunderbolt NVM firmware issue with Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter

after 3 months, the problem is still.

I tested on my XPS 9350(13 inch) by

  • BIOS:
    • 1.4.17
  • TB Driver:
    • 16.2.55.275 ,A01
  • TB FW:
    • 2.16.01.003 ,A04 by filename
    • 16.2.55.1 in driver panel.

very unhappy.

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karatekid430
1 Nickel

RE: XPS 15 9550, Thunderbolt NVM firmware issue with Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter

Guys, Skylake has a maximum NVM version of 16. Kaby Lake is required for anything higher. Afaik.

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karatekid430
1 Nickel

RE: XPS 15 9550, Thunderbolt NVM firmware issue with Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter

Also you can install 17.1.64.250 drivers - they are not even mentioned on Intel's website, but just download them from elsewhere and check their digital signatures from Intel and WHQL. I did it on my XPS 9365 - it does not change the fact that Dell has left this model on NVM 9, but it works, and I use Gigabyte Aorus eGPU with AMD R9 Nano installed. Works perfectly despite the software claiming it is not supported. As perfectly as something can work on a 4.5W CPU that is further crippled by Dell.

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