Faulty Intel Ethernet Controllers Break Connections on Some Raptor Lake Motherboards


Why it matters: An alleged design flaw in the Intel I226-V Ethernet controller causes connection interruptions on some Intel z700 series motherboards. The break, which has been reported on several forums since the end of last year, usually lasts a few seconds and occurs without warning. The problem is related to the Intel 2.5GbE controller on the affected boards and does not affect the embedded Realtek, Marvell or other types of controllers.

According to a study conducted by the TechPowerUp team, the problem is related to the I226-V controller when it is running in the default 2.5 GbE state. Short-term communication losses occur randomly and may not be noticeable to some users, depending on their specific level of activity. However, this has a noticeable impact on any users engaged in tasks or activities that require a stable and reliable connection, such as gaming, streaming, or using any PC-based means of communication.

There is currently no known solution to this problem, and the built-in controller is far from replacement or maintenance for the average user. The team reported several workarounds that include using the board’s built-in wireless connectivity or buying and installing a PCIe network adapter. Higher-end boards can also avoid this problem by using any additional built-in connectivity options that don’t use the same Intel-based solution. Driver and firmware updates have so far proved ineffective to solve the problem.

Users who suspect they may be affected can easily check for any related warnings using the Windows Event Viewer. Events are marked as e2fexpress in the original viewer column with event ID 27. Clicking on the warning will provide additional information that specifically specifies the name of the Intel(R) I226-V Ethernet controller.

A faulty controller is another stumbling block in Intel’s line of cost-effective but problematic embedded network controllers. The controller’s predecessor, the I225-V, has already been known for its problems over the past few years. Users reported connection problems similar to those described above, up to the loss of connection and a message about the Event Viewer record ID 27. Problems with the I225-V connection can be circumvented by making the adapter work at a speed of 1 GbE.

Unfortunately for 700 series users, the 1 GbE workaround is not suitable for I226-V issues. This puts the owners of low- and mid-tier boards that require a wired connection in a very unfortunate position where they will probably have to spend extra money to keep the basic functions. We hope that Intel will find a way to cope with the current situation, since the requirement for users to buy another piece of equipment to expand an already known faulty component is hardly acceptable.


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