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z790 Hero Thunderbolt Controller Problem - Really Long Boot Times

Level 8

It's taken me a while to isolate this issue and I am wondering if anyone else has the problem, or if I should RMA my motherboard.

My System:

Asus ROG Maximus z790 Hero , BIOS 0904
2x32 GB Corsair 5600 DIMMs - CMT64GX5M2X5600C40 (Ver5.43.13)
Intel i9-13900K, MSI 4090 Gaming X Trio

The symptoms:

1) I had been noticing that reboots were taking almost 2 minutes, and the motherboard would pause for a very long time after posting, but before loading the OS (Win11).

2) I could also see in the windows device manager, that the Thunderbolt controller driver (1137) was stopped.


Looking at the post codes wasn't helpful initially - the default is to display the CPU temperature after POST, so I turned that off in the BIOS settings under:

Advanced -> Onboard Devices Configuration -> Q-Code LED Function -> POST Code Only

With that done, I could now see that it was pausing at Q-Code 98 - Console Input Devices Connect for a really long time. 

Making the connection between the Thunderbolt device driver issue and the long post times was key, so I disabled the Thunderbolt controller in the BIOS under

Advanced -> Tunderbolt(TM) Configuration -> Discrete Thunderbolt(TM) Support -> Disabled

This returns the reboot times to what is normal for this board, and no longer makes the lengthy pause on Q-Code 98. Unfortunately it also disables several important physical ports. Can't live with either of these scenarios.

During all of my testing I only have a keyboard and mouse attached - no other USB devices. The keyboard/mouse are not plugged into ports connected to the Thunderbolt controller. I also tried disabling the WiFi and Sound in the BIOS - they do not have any effect on the Thunderbolt controller problem. I also set the RAM to fully auto and was not using XMP. I have also flashed the BIOS and cleared it more times than I can count. The problem happens on all BIOS revisions.

My verdict:

Since the issue appears right after POST and before OS load, I am really thinking the controller is failing to initialize, which smells like hardware or firmware. Is anyone else having this problem - or did I just win the lottery and get a bad board? Should I RMA it, or is there anything I can do in the advanced Thunderbolt settings to help stabilize this thing. There seem to be a ton of settings in there that I have no clue what they do. I don't want to go through the process of RMAing it to find the next board has the same issue.




Customer Service Agent

Hello, @encrypt1d 

I apologize for any inconvenience caused by the delayed response, as there have been consecutive holidays at our location in recent days.

May I ask if the situation you described happened after any changes were made?
According to the ROG MAXIMUS Z790 HERO's official website, the latest BIOS version released is 1202, dated June 16, 2023.
We recommend that you update the Intel ME to version, then update to the 1202 BIOS version, and perform a clear CMOS before verifying the results.
Please refer to the [Motherboard] Intel® Management Engine Firmware Update Instructions(ME) for more detail information.

Thank you.

Thanks for your reply @Jiaszzz_ROG 

To answer your questions, no there was no "change" made that started the issue. It has always been an issue since I got the board. It just a took a while to isolate the problem.

I am running Intel ME and BIOS 1202 now. I've done many CMOS resets as well.  The problem persists.

For the last 2 weeks I have disabled the Thunderbolt controller, and have had no issues with long boot times - but this is obviously not a good fix as the Thunderbolt/USB ports are also unusable. 

I believe the Thunderbolt controller is malfunctioning, do you agree?


I have the same issue with the Tunderbold(TM) Controller Driver Problem 

And some other driver that I can't find.
I have downloaded and installed all current driver for the ROG Maximus Z790 Hero, but no success

Current Bios 1202 is already installed, too.



Level 8

@Jiaszzz_ROG  No the situation has not happened as a result of any changes. It seems to have quite simply always been happening.

I have upgraded to BIOS 1202, and also updated the Intel ME to, but it hasn't helped. I've also cleared the CMOS many many times. With the Thunderbolt controller disabled, I no longer have the issue. I have been testing with it disabled for several weeks now, and the reboot times are quick. 

Once I re-enable it, it takes several minutes to get from the POST screen to the OS loading (spinning circle). Then in Windows, the driver shows as having stopped and the device is malfunctioning. Once in a while, a reboot will work, but it's rare - and then in Windows the driver shows up ok. That is maybe 1 out of 10 reboots though.

I am pretty sure the Thunderbolt controller is defective. Do you agree?