If you remember the launch of the Sandy Bridge family just over two years ago, you might be familiar with the launch issues the platform had with the SATA 3 ports. The chipset responsible for the mess had a missing layer of metal which created a small short, causing ports to fail and, in the rare instance, complete drive failure. Intel had to recall all boards with the B2 stepping and issues customers and OEMs new ones with the B3 revision, fixing those issues. It looks like we may have another issue from the new Haswell family, but this one may not be fixed in time for the launch.
The latest information coming out of the rather leaky cauldron that is Hardware.info suggests that there’s an issue with the USB 3.0 chipset destined to ship with the new platform. Hardware.info says that they have a copy of an internal report being circulated with Intel’s partners that says there’s an issue with system resume while USB 3.0 devices are plugged in. If you have any documents, pictures or media open from a flash drive and you put the system to sleep, upon resume there may be issues with programs accessing that data again. In the case of Adobe PDF, you’ll see a blank page on resume and you’ll have to open the document again to view it. The same goes for music and videos, but Office documents might be another issue.
While Office can be set to autosave your work every few minutes, there’s a ten minute window set by default. Here’s a potential scenario: you edit something important in Word at record speed in nine minutes but forget to save it to your USB 3.0 flash drive. Then you notice your laptop’s battery is almost because of that Team Fortress 2 round you played a little earlier. You rush to find the charger, only to spend a minute looking for it and coming back to find the laptop has gone to sleep. If you were a noob and did all this without saving anything, you’d lose all that work because you’d need to re-open the document and make all the changes again.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “what sort of twit would be dumb enough to go through all that work and just lose it without saving?” Well, I’m only familiar with that scenario because I’ve done the exact same thing. Replace USB 3.0 with 2.0, TF2 with Unreal 2004 and top it off by actually unplugging the flash drive… while the system was sleeping. If I can do it, hell, the possibilities are endless.
Also, one important thing about this: Intel has reportedly told it’s third-party OEMs and partners to suck it up. They won’t supply products or processors unless they accept the issue and keep quiet about it.