USB 2.0 Chipset Incompatibility Notice

The USB 2.0 hardware used in the CoolSNAP MYO and CoolSNAP KINO cameras is incompatible with new computers using native Intel USB 3.0 host controllers. A third party PCIe USB 3.0 card is required to resolve the problem.

Newer computers from leading manufacturers including Dell and HP predominately use Intel based internal hardware and chipset controllers for managing the different components of the PC. Nearly every computer now also includes the latest interface ports including USB 3.0 SuperSpeed. However, up until the Fall of 2013, while USB 3.0 interface ports were being introduced onto laptops and desktop computers, the internal drivers and host controllers were actually from companies outside of Intel including Renesas and Texas Instruments. With these computers, Photometrics USB 2.0 based cameras, including the CoolSNAP MYO and CoolSNAP KINO, were tested and qualified to be fully functional.

However, starting in the Fall of 2013, Intel released a new version of their mother board chipsets (Series 7/C216, Series 8/C220 and later) with a native Intel based USB 3.0 host controller (USB3 extensible host controller, xHCI in the Device Manager). On these newer PCs, the Intel USB 3.0 host controller does not communicate properly with some traditional USB 2.0 chipsets to the extent where data is not properly delivered. This hardware incompatibility is unfortunately the cause of recently discovered bugs with the CoolSNAP MYO and CoolSNAP KINO cameras and new Dell and HP computers. These problems manifest as black frames or failed frame deliveries when attempting to view live or capture images and is only seen on PCs that have USB 3.0 ports and native Intel host controllers.

If a PC or laptop has only USB 2.0 ports or USB 3.0 ports that use third party host controllers, the cameras will be fully functional. However, most new computers purchased in 2014 will likely have Intel based host controllers. To alleviate this problem, each CoolSNAP MYO and KINO camera now includes a StarTech 2 Port PCI Express SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Card Adapter. This card installs an independent Renesas host controller which allows the Retiga cameras to run properly even on newer desktop computers. As this workaround requires a separate USB 3.0 card, this solution is only viable for desktop computers and not laptops. For the immediate future, there is no solution for laptop computers which are therefore are not supported by these cameras.

If you have previously purchased a CoolSNAP MYO or KINO camera and are experiencing these problems, please contact Photometrics technical support to request a USB 3.0 PCIe card. One will be shipped to you free of charge.

Photometrics is currently working with the engineering team at Intel to further investigate this issue and will continue to work towards a long term solution that will not require a third party USB card. For any further questions and assistance, contact Photometrics technical support.