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Serial Port
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎02-09-2017
Location: US
Message 21 of 35 (806 Views)

Re: P710: Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card?

I just got an update from Encomass saying 00FC991 once again has no ETA for availability. 00FC975 remains completely unavailable with no way to preorder it anymore. I see the card still isn't available in the configurator for new machines, either. Did a new problem come up to delay the card again? It's a bit disappointing given I originally ordered my machine with Thunderbolt 3 eight months ago and now still can't get it even through self-installed options.

Lenovo Staff
Posts: 2,561
Registered: ‎02-22-2010
Location: NC
Message 22 of 35 (800 Views)

Re: P710: Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card?

There have been more than a few bumps in the road on this one.  But as far as I know this solution should  be shipping/shippable now.  I know I've been working with a few special bids that have been requesting it on my end.

 

I'm really not familiar with how the FRU ordering process works in terms of how customers place direct orders for FRU parts.  But I would consider canceling your original order and maybe starting over.  With all the delays/hiccups that there have been with this solution, it's possible that 3rd party companies dealing with FRUs might not have the latest info or have even given up trying to get them.

Serial Port
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎02-09-2017
Location: US
Message 23 of 35 (757 Views)

Re: P710: Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card?

For what it's worth, Encompass just billed my card for 00FC991 (LEO FPIO BOARD ASM). The Thunderbolt card itself, 00FC975, was silently removed from the order and remains listed as "no longer available - 004." Did the FRU change for the PCI Express card, perhaps? I think I'm about to be the proud owner of a fairly expensive unusable front panel assembly, which is a bit of a bummer. Smiley Happy

Serial Port
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎02-09-2017
Location: US
Message 24 of 35 (686 Views)

Re: P710: Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card?

I received 00FC991, which included:

  • Bare FPIO daughterboard with two USB-C ports
  • DisplayPort cable
  • Cable FRU 00FC914
  • Cable FRU 00FC912

This all shipped in a resealed box with the Lenovo seal cut, which doesn't inspire confidence in Encompass.

 

Missing:

  • Thunderbolt PCI Express card (expected). Is the FRU for this still 00FC975? There's no sign of this FRU existing except for this thread and the "no longer available" entry on Encompass's web site
  • Faceplate/any way to mount the FPIO daughterboard in the FLEX bay. What is the FRU for this? I already have a FLEX assmbly for a slim DVD writer and eSATA/FireWire 400 ports.

Is there any other support avenue to order these parts? Surely they have to exist somewhere if machines are shipping with them now, and I've been thoroughly unimpressed with Encompass. The parts I've got were also pretty expensive and are currently completely useless.

 

image[42500].jpg

Serial Port
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎02-09-2017
Location: US
Message 25 of 35 (614 Views)

Re: P710: Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card?

[ Edited ]

Also, for what it's worth, this other corner of the Lenovo site seems to still be pointing to the IBM parts site, but that site doesn't recognize either of the TB3 FRUs.

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Lenovo Staff
Posts: 2,561
Registered: ‎02-22-2010
Location: NC
Message 26 of 35 (666 Views)

Re: P710: Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card?

OK so the more I look into this, the messier it gets unfortunately.

 

00FC991 is the FRU for the kit containing the following:

- DP-->DP loopback cable

- mini SAS cable

- GPIO cable

- FPIO board

 

From what I can tell, this is what you've received so far and that looks correct.

 

 

00FC975 is a FRU kit containing:

- DP-->DP looback cable

- Leo PCIe x4 card (this is the card that installs in the PCIe x4 slot).

 

It looks like you're missing this FRU kit, and obviously the assembly won't function without the PCIe card.  I'm not sure what the hold up is for that as those parts have been finalized for quite a while.  The 2nd DP-DP cable is not needed...I'm guessing that was a (bad) FRU strategy for customers that might only be replacing certain parts of the assembly.

 

That being said, I think I also overlooked some pieces when I gave you the FRU information.  

1.  The PCB holder FRU is 01EF160 - this is the plastic piece that attaches the FPIO to the FLEX module.

2.  The front bezel FRU is 01MN129 - this is the plastic bezel that installs to capture the type C ports.

 

 

So, for anybody else that's following this thread and trying to make sense of everything, here's a revised list of which FRUs are needed:

 

00FC991 - DP loopback cable, miniSAS cable, GPIO cable, FPIO board

00FC975 - PCIe x4 card, DP loopback cable

01MN129 - front bezel

01EF160 - PCB holder for FPIO

01EF161 - FLEX module that installs into ODD bay

 

 

@Toaster4000, since I screwed this up somewhat by not providing all the correct information, and since you've been patiently waiting for months for all of this to sort itself out, check your PMs in a few minutes.  We'll make this right for you.

Serial Port
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎02-09-2017
Location: US
Message 27 of 35 (568 Views)

Re: P710: Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card?

As promised, @psuturtle was gracious enough to help me out with the rest of the listed parts, and I now have a mostly-working Thunderbolt solution with my P710. Some notes from my first few days with it:

  • Installation is pretty straightforward. If your machine has front eSATA/FireWire ports, you'll need to free their cables from the internal cable management enough to pull the FLEX bay out far enough to enable temporarily removing the jacks from the FLEX bay.
  • While installing the parts I received from Encompass, I noticed the FLEX daughterboard arrived with bent electrical contacts. It seems to be fine after bending them back, but it's worth checking for anyone else who buys the individual FRUs lest the parts short out after installation.
  • You'll need to turn on Thunderbolt support in the BIOS once you've installed the PCI Express card. Note which slot you used, as you'll need to specify it in the BIOS.
  • The Thunderbolt controller won't appear in Device Manager until you actually plug a Thunderbolt device in, at which point Windows will grab the appropriate driver from Windows Update. When you unplug your Thunderbolt device, it'll disappear again.
  • DisplayPort appears to only work in the Thunderbolt port. If you plug a DisplayPort device into the non-Thunderbolt port, Windows just says a USB device isn't working.
  • USB from the USB-C ports doesn't always work on machine wake or boot. Upon wake, the device removal sound sometimes plays, indicating the USB 3.1 controller just disappeared. Plugging a Thunderbolt device into port 1 brings back USB functionality, but it's annoying and means you need to eject any connected USB-C devices before letting the machine sleep.
  • When USB-C is working, "USB Root Hub (USB 3.0)" appears in the "Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media" menu even though it's internal hardware.
  • The Thunderbolt firmware on the PCI Express card I received is at least four versions old, but I'm not aware of any available firmware update from Lenovo.
  • My Quadro M2000 became upset and crashed the video driver a few times while unplugging/replugging USB-C devices.

It's great to see a working Thunderbolt 3 solution coming together, and I'm hopeful future software and firmware updates will make things less fiddly. For anyone just looking for USB-C, it might still be best to look for a USB-only card until reliability is improved.

Lenovo Staff
Posts: 2,561
Registered: ‎02-22-2010
Location: NC
Message 28 of 35 (541 Views)

Re: P710: Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card?

Sorry for the delayed response here.  I was out of the office last week and didn't get a chance to respond to this (or your PM).  

 

I think most of what you're reporting below is accurate and/or to be expected.  But I'll highlight some items below:

 


Toaster4000 wrote:
  • While installing the parts I received from Encompass, I noticed the FLEX daughterboard arrived with bent electrical contacts. It seems to be fine after bending them back, but it's worth checking for anyone else who buys the individual FRUs lest the parts short out after installation.

This is a bit concerning.  Which electrical contacts are you referring to on the front panel?  

 


Toaster4000 wrote:
  • You'll need to turn on Thunderbolt support in the BIOS once you've installed the PCI Express card. Note which slot you used, as you'll need to specify it in the BIOS.
  • The Thunderbolt controller won't appear in Device Manager until you actually plug a Thunderbolt device in, at which point Windows will grab the appropriate driver from Windows Update. When you unplug your Thunderbolt device, it'll disappear again.

Both of these are correct.  You'll need to enable the setting in BIOS setup, which can be found in BIOS setup under Devices --> Intel Thunderbolt.  And we've seen the same behavior with regard to devices actually showing up in device manager in that you generally won't see anything there until you plug in a device.

 


Toaster4000 wrote:
  • DisplayPort appears to only work in the Thunderbolt port. If you plug a DisplayPort device into the non-Thunderbolt port, Windows just says a USB device isn't working.

I think this is normal.  With the current design implementation, only one of the front two ports are actually Thunderbolt 3...the other is technically just a USB 3.1 type C port.  I can't remember which one is which off the top of my head.  And you might have been shipped a front panel bezel that shows both ports as Thunderbolt, mainly because that was all I had on hand at the time Smiley Happy

 

I'll check into the firmwares.  Not sure if both the PCIe adapter and the front panel daughter board have updatable firmwares on them, or only one does, or none.  What are you comparing FW levels with to determine the one you have is downlevel?

Serial Port
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎02-09-2017
Location: US
Message 29 of 35 (533 Views)

Re: P710: Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card?

No worries at all about the delay, and apologies for the extra PM while I was trying to figure things out. Smiley Happy

 

Regarding DisplayPort on port 2, plain-old USB-C actually supports it, so if it doesn't work here, it's an implementation detail of this specific solution, perhaps because there's only one loopback cable.

 

Intel firmware revisions appear in the Thunderbolt settings window:

 

2017-09-05 (1).png

 

Note it says there are two Thunderbolt ports even though there's only one. The firmware seems to be written by Intel but distributed by each individual manufacturer, perhaps to gate testing. One of Intel's recent NUCs has firmware version 25 available, for example. I have no idea if this has anything to do with the USB-C root hub disapparing on wake, though, partly because there's no changelog I saw for the firmware update.

 

As for the bent parts on the FPIO board, all the damage I managed to find was with the mini SAS jack used to connect with the PCI Express card:

Thunderbolt connector damage 2.jpgThunderbolt connector damage.jpg

 

One of the contacts connecting the jack to the logic board was touching an adjacent contact, while the metal housing around the jack was pushed in such that the cable didn't fit. As mentioned previously, the FRU box arrived from Encompass with the Lenovo security seal broken.

 

I also forgot to mention that Thunderbolt possibly didn't work with the BIOS set to power down unused PCI Express slots. I didn't extensively test this theory, as I got tired of rebooting at the time and I no longer have any unused PCI Express lots anyway. Smiley Happy If I'm right, though, that might be nice to fix in a future BIOS update.

 

Thanks again!

Lenovo Staff
Posts: 2,561
Registered: ‎02-22-2010
Location: NC
Message 30 of 35 (514 Views)

Re: P710: Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card?

I'd consider contacting Encompass about replacing your front panel board.  The amount of bend introduced to the pin on the miniSAS connector is concerning as those simply aren't made to be bent and reshaped.  I guess if you can pin it out with a meter going from the board solder point to the other end of the miniSAS cable (not the end plugged into the connection on the PCB) and everything is good, then you're probably safe.  But there's no excuse for a part showing up like that.  If they fight you on it, let me know.

 

I'll have to dig in to see what level of testing was actually done on the ports.  I'm not sure if DisplayPort over USB-C was something that was in the test plan or not.  The USB3.1 spec gets a little crazy, and I know the team was working some sort of detection/hot-plug issue prior to shipping the solution (which was partially to blame for the delay).  So it's certainly possible that this was a limitation that got put out there that I wasn't aware of.

 

Regarding Thunderbolt not working when the BIOS was set to power down unused links....my guess is that was never really tested in that state since the default BIOS setting is to leave those links on.  Testing every BIOS permutation for every release is pretty impossible, and that's a setting that most users don't change from default.  If Thunderbolt is not working when that is set to power down links, that's likely a really small exposure.

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