Functional Multi-Controller USB PCI-e Adapter


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So I just received the U3X4-PCiE4XE111. 

 

I ordered a U3X4-PCiE4XE111 and a U3X4-PCIE4XE113-Ax but the seller sent two U3X4-PCiE4XE111, one is a used card with a BOM of 1.1.0 and a new card with a BOM of 1.1.1. I am assuming BOM stands for Bill of Materials which should stand for the revision of the card. Here is the 1.1.1 pictured as I have the 1.1.0 currently in the system and they shouldn't be too far apart from each other functionality and chipset wise. If I do take the 1.1.0 card out, I'll update this post with the correct imagery.

 

Here's a picture of the front and back of the card.

1W5BDxy.jpg

vjFkr4g.jpg

 

Here's the lspci -nn of the card:

08:00.0 PCI bridge [0604]: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8608 8-lane, 8-Port PCI Express Gen 2 (5.0 GT/s) Switch [10b5:8608] (rev ba)
09:01.0 PCI bridge [0604]: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8608 8-lane, 8-Port PCI Express Gen 2 (5.0 GT/s) Switch [10b5:8608] (rev ba)
09:05.0 PCI bridge [0604]: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8608 8-lane, 8-Port PCI Express Gen 2 (5.0 GT/s) Switch [10b5:8608] (rev ba)
09:07.0 PCI bridge [0604]: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8608 8-lane, 8-Port PCI Express Gen 2 (5.0 GT/s) Switch [10b5:8608] (rev ba)
09:09.0 PCI bridge [0604]: PLX Technology, Inc. PEX 8608 8-lane, 8-Port PCI Express Gen 2 (5.0 GT/s) Switch [10b5:8608] (rev ba)
0a:00.0 USB controller [0c03]: Fresco Logic FL1100 USB 3.0 Host Controller [1b73:1100] (rev 10)
0b:00.0 USB controller [0c03]: Fresco Logic FL1100 USB 3.0 Host Controller [1b73:1100] (rev 10)
0c:00.0 USB controller [0c03]: Fresco Logic FL1100 USB 3.0 Host Controller [1b73:1100] (rev 10)
0d:00.0 USB controller [0c03]: Fresco Logic FL1100 USB 3.0 Host Controller [1b73:1100] (rev 10)

As we can see from the above, it's using the same PLX Technology bridge as the StarTech PI40202-6X2B variant. So just by that we can assume that the card works in passthrough and that assumption holds true. I have this card passed-through to both MacOS and Windows. This card uses the Fresco Logic FL1100 chipset which is natively supported on both MacOS and Windows.

 

I was having some issues with getting the card to work properly with my audio interface which I use as a sound card for Windows (10). I initially thought that the issue was to do with streaming usb data (video, audio) not working however I was proven wrong as my webcam worked fine. I finally linked it to wonky Fresco drivers, the drivers that I used was version 3.8.35514.0. Using the default Windows drivers seems to work better so my suggestion would probably be to not install the Fresco drivers unless you're having an issue with the default ones. After I uninstalled the Fresco drivers, everything seems to be working as it should. 

 

On MacOS (10.15), it was pretty much a breeze. This card works way better than the Renesas card that I had before which doesn't support streaming USB data. This card however seems to support it just fine. I can confirm that my audio interface appears in MacOS and can output audio just fine. I haven't tested it with video but I'm sure it'll be okay.

 

The card shows up on my system with the ports a, b, c, d mapped to the card respectively from a vertical standpoint with port a being the port closest to the bracket screw mount point.

 

I did however notice that this card does not seem to support resets in my current system. This means that you are unable to reboot the guest VM by themselves and you have to reboot the host machine. This behaviour is unfortunate but I should be able to live with it considering my MacOS VM has an AMD GPU attached to it and AMD GPUs are known to have the reset bug which is exactly the same thing with this card. It's a minor inconvenience.

 

I'm not sure if I'll be able to get the U3X4-PCIE4XE113-Ax as the seller has been pretty much ignoring my messages with regards to the wrong card being sent and I'll report back if I do eventually get it. 

 

EDIT:

 

I checked with the seller and he doesn't have any of the U3X4-PCIE4XE113-Ax anymore. So unfortunately I won't be able to get my hands on it to test. Can't seem to find where to buy it.

 

For those who are looking for this card though. I believe the Flir website sells it. It should be the following:

https://www.flir.com/products/usb-3.1-host-controller-card/?model=ACC-01-1203

Edited by ZaneChua
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IT WORKS!!!!!!!!   The main difference: The PCI bridge in this card.   1c:00.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1806 (rev 01) 1d:00.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc

I've written up a somewhat more off-the-wall approach to getting discrete USB to 4x VMs using only a single motherboard slot;   https://mediaserver8.blogspot.com/2020/04/unraid-discrete-usb-

I completely DISAGREE with you. He is in the right place but he is using the wrong OS. @ehollman, drop your ESXi, install Unraid and it is all set.

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/22/2020 at 1:20 PM, agarkauskas said:

IT WORKS!!!!!!!!

 

The main difference: The PCI bridge in this card.

 

1c:00.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1806 (rev 01)
1d:00.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1806 (rev 01)
1d:02.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1806 (rev 01)
1d:06.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1806 (rev 01)
1d:0e.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1806 (rev 01)
1e:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)
1f:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)
20:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)
21:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32947768312.html

 

One year trying to make this happen.

 

USB Card.png

Does it also work in a Mac OS Environment? Or only on Windows? Did you get a chance to test it in a Mac VM?

 

Thank you very much for your time and effort.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/18/2020 at 8:27 PM, Draven said:

Does it also work in a Mac OS Environment? Or only on Windows? Did you get a chance to test it in a Mac VM?

 

Thank you very much for your time and effort.

As far as I know Renesas chipset does not work natively in MacOS, only Fresco does...chipset FL1100

Edited by adrianb2020
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/22/2020 at 1:20 PM, agarkauskas said:

IT WORKS!!!!!!!!

 

The main difference: The PCI bridge in this card.

 

1c:00.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1806 (rev 01)
1d:00.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1806 (rev 01)
1d:02.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1806 (rev 01)
1d:06.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1806 (rev 01)
1d:0e.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. Device 1806 (rev 01)
1e:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)
1f:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)
20:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)
21:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32947768312.html

 

One year trying to make this happen.

 

 

Thanks again! This has been a minor irritant for me for years. Anytime I wanted to preclear an external drive, I would have to shut down my Windows VM, remove the usb 3.0 card from the xml, add a usb 2 controller and reboot. When done preclearing, I would re-add the USB3 controller.

 

This card allows me to dedicate one USB3 controller (port) to my VM, and the remaining three are still available to Unraid! They all show up separate and easy to identify in their own IOMMU groups. Can't ask for better than that!! :)

 

IOMMU group 24:[1912:0015] 04:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)

IOMMU group 25:[1912:0015] 05:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)

IOMMU group 26:[1912:0015] 06:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)

IOMMU group 27:[1912:0015] 07:00.0 USB controller: Renesas Technology Corp. uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller (rev 02)

 

This is on an ASRock EP2C602-4L/D16 motherboard.

 

Note: In my case, the top port was 06:00.0. You would think it would have gone in order (4, 5, 6, 7), but instead it went 6, 5, 4, 7.

Edited by DoeBoye
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  • 3 weeks later...

I was wondering if there are any special drivers and what version of esxi you are running to get the USB card on Aliexpress working.  https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32947768312.html

 

referenced by @agarkauskas and @ZaneChua

 

I have the card installed and have tried both esxi version 6.7U1 and 7.0U1 and don't see it listed as an available PCI device that I can passthrough.  This is the only card I have inserted that the Hypervisor has not detected.

 

Any assistance in this regard is much appreciated.

 

Cheers!

 

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On 11/7/2020 at 2:02 PM, ehollman said:

I was wondering if there are any special drivers and what version of esxi you are running to get the USB card on Aliexpress working.  https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32947768312.html

 

referenced by @agarkauskas and @ZaneChua

 

I have the card installed and have tried both esxi version 6.7U1 and 7.0U1 and don't see it listed as an available PCI device that I can passthrough.  This is the only card I have inserted that the Hypervisor has not detected.

 

Any assistance in this regard is much appreciated.

 

Cheers!

 

ehollman, I never tested it using ESXi. Are you not using Unraid?

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No , I have not tried Unraid, just ESXi because I have been using ESXi for over 12 years.  I was able to get it working on 6.7U1.  I have not tried any other versions yet.  I will try 7.0U1 in the future.  I wanted to let anyone know that this will work in ESXi though (at least 6.7U1) if anyone is searching and stumbled across this thread like I have.

 

Cheers!

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12 hours ago, ehollman said:

No , I have not tried Unraid, just ESXi because I have been using ESXi for over 12 years.  I was able to get it working on 6.7U1.  I have not tried any other versions yet.  I will try 7.0U1 in the future.  I wanted to let anyone know that this will work in ESXi though (at least 6.7U1) if anyone is searching and stumbled across this thread like I have.

 

Cheers!

You're in the wrong forum....

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/12/2020 at 2:13 PM, agarkauskas said:

I bought this one to give it a try:

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32947768312.html

 

Still waiting for delivery, it is stuck at Brazilian Customs (!!!!!).

I bought also this expander based on @meep 's idea - thanks bro - that is working fine with my gaming VM: one shitty USB card and a Sound Blaster ZxR:

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32968079225.html

 

|           +-0d.1  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E LM Channel 2
 |           +-0d.2  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E LMS Channel 2
 |           \-0d.3  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E LMDP Channel 2
 +-[0000:17]-+-00.0-[18-1b]----00.0-[19-1b]--+-03.0-[1a]----00.0  Creative Labs Sound Core3D [Sound Blaster Recon3D / Z-Series]
 |           |                               \-07.0-[1b]----00.0  VIA Technologies, Inc. VL805 USB 3.0 Host Controller
 |           +-05.0  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E VT-d
 |           +-05.2  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E RAS Configuration Registers
 |           +-05.4  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E IOxAPIC Configuration Registers

 

<hostdev mode='subsystem' type='pci' managed='yes'>
      <driver name='vfio'/>
      <source>
        <address domain='0x0000' bus='0x1a' slot='0x00' function='0x0'/>
      </source>
      <alias name='hostdev1'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x08' function='0x0'/>
    </hostdev>
    <hostdev mode='subsystem' type='pci' managed='yes'>
      <driver name='vfio'/>
      <source>
        <address domain='0x0000' bus='0x1b' slot='0x00' function='0x0'/>
      </source>
      <alias name='hostdev2'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x09' function='0x0'/>
    </hostdev>

Will this card work in a 1x slot?

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@methanoid / @phat_cow - I can test is with a PCIEx extender cable that only transfer at 1x but it is a moderate effort, it is not that simple to do (my rig is watercooled, extra effort to move things between slots).

 

What I think I can do without much effort is to convert the slot that is connected to my USB card to 1x using a BIOS option (I remember that I saw some cool PCIEx options in my Supermicro BIOS). I will give it a try but it will be a "soft" test, not a hard test. Wait for news.

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@meep

 

I came to the same conclusion on this as you did. The price and availability of working 4 port cards is kind of wonky so rolling your own has some advantages.

 

I use a 4 port mining riser which I bought for ~$15, they're pretty easy to find all over. I seem to have better luck with ones using the asmedia chipset which is what most of them use.

 

Advantages are easier to find and flexibility. You can mix and match devices (including SATA controllers and different types of USB controllers, even video cards). Also you can install 4 port cards instead of needing to use USB hubs, most 4 controller cards only give you one port per controller.

 

Disadvantages are if you're buying all the controller cards from scratch its not much cheaper than the all in one card and it takes up a lot of space and creates a wiring mess. So you'll need a custom case or a case with a lot of expansion slots in many cases. And when using USB 3.0 you have a bandwidth bottleneck. I've never seen an (affordable) mining riser that doees 4x pcie to 4qty 1x pcie splits, they're all 1x to 4qty 1x pcie split. The bottleneck doesn't really matter to me since I really only use USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices.

Edited by scorcho99
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On 12/2/2020 at 12:57 PM, scorcho99 said:

@meep

 

I came to the same conclusion on this as you did. The price and availability of working 4 port cards is kind of wonky so rolling your own has some advantages.

 

I use a 4 port mining riser which I bought for ~$15, they're pretty easy to find all over. I seem to have better luck with ones using the asmedia chipset which is what most of them use.

 

Advantages are easier to find and flexibility. You can mix and match devices (including SATA controllers and different types of USB controllers, even video cards). Also you can install 4 port cards instead of needing to use USB hubs, most 4 controller cards only give you one port per controller.

 

Disadvantages are if you're buying all the controller cards from scratch its not much cheaper than the all in one card and it takes up a lot of space and creates a wiring mess. So you'll need a custom case or a case with a lot of expansion slots in many cases. And when using USB 3.0 you have a bandwidth bottleneck. I've never seen an (affordable) mining riser that doees 4x pcie to 4qty 1x pcie splits, they're all 1x to 4qty 1x pcie split. The bottleneck doesn't really matter to me since I really only use USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices.

Yes, a 4x -> 4 1x would be useful, however given the way the PLX chips work, it just slices the time each card gets in the slot so it would likely be a different hardware solution in that case.

 

This is the one I'm currently using. It's really compact and I can mount it anywhere in my case, running I/O brackets to the back panel if necessary. That way, you only take up the number of precious expansion slots you actually need, rather than all 4 (or 8 in the case of the lorger expanders designed for dual width GPUs).

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/12/2020 at 2:13 PM, agarkauskas said:

I bought this one to give it a try:

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32947768312.html

 

Still waiting for delivery, it is stuck at Brazilian Customs (!!!!!).

I bought also this expander based on @meep 's idea - thanks bro - that is working fine with my gaming VM: one shitty USB card and a Sound Blaster ZxR:

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32968079225.html

 

|           +-0d.1  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E LM Channel 2
 |           +-0d.2  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E LMS Channel 2
 |           \-0d.3  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E LMDP Channel 2
 +-[0000:17]-+-00.0-[18-1b]----00.0-[19-1b]--+-03.0-[1a]----00.0  Creative Labs Sound Core3D [Sound Blaster Recon3D / Z-Series]
 |           |                               \-07.0-[1b]----00.0  VIA Technologies, Inc. VL805 USB 3.0 Host Controller
 |           +-05.0  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E VT-d
 |           +-05.2  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E RAS Configuration Registers
 |           +-05.4  Intel Corporation Sky Lake-E IOxAPIC Configuration Registers

 

<hostdev mode='subsystem' type='pci' managed='yes'>
      <driver name='vfio'/>
      <source>
        <address domain='0x0000' bus='0x1a' slot='0x00' function='0x0'/>
      </source>
      <alias name='hostdev1'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x08' function='0x0'/>
    </hostdev>
    <hostdev mode='subsystem' type='pci' managed='yes'>
      <driver name='vfio'/>
      <source>
        <address domain='0x0000' bus='0x1b' slot='0x00' function='0x0'/>
      </source>
      <alias name='hostdev2'/>
      <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x09' function='0x0'/>
    </hostdev>

Got this card in today but not installed yet. Does this card require a sata power cable plugged in?

Edited by phat_cow
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everyone!

 

Just created an account to report here that I had bought the aforementioned aliexpress card (here) and received it today.

I can happily report that I succesfully managed to split the 4 controllers and assign 2 to each of my Windows VMs. Only had to enable PCIe ACS override: Downstream to split the IOMMU groups.

Was rather cheap, took a while to arrive, but works beautifully.

Edited by SharkOne
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