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XHCI Hand Off is a mode in BIOS configuration. When enabled, the on-board USB 3.0 port functions like a regular 3.0 port, however, when the XHCI Hand Off is disabled, the onboard USB 3.0 port functions like a 2.0 port.
If you are running Windows 10 or above, you do not need to enable XHCI. For Windows 7, it is ideal to enable XHCI, in the BIOS setup. Either way, it does not make a lot of difference.
What is XHCI Hand Off Auto Mode?
Before the OS USB 3.0 driver is loaded, the on-board USB 3.0 port behaves like a 2.0 port. During the reboot BIOS phase before the OS USB 3.0 driver loads, the on-board USB 3.0 port behaves like a 2.0 port again.
What is XHCI Hand Off Auto Smart Mode?
Before the OS USB 3.0 driver loads, the on-board USB 3.0 port behaves like a 2.0 port. If you reboot the OS, the BIOS is “smart” enough to prevent the USB 3.0 port from reverting to 2.0 functioning before the OS USB 3.0 driver loads. So, on the second boot, Smart Auto is faster than Auto, but Enabled is faster after you know the OS has the USB 3.0 driver installed, because it avoids switching.
Making the on-board USB 3.0 port behave like a 2.0 port is primarily for OS installation or to support OSs that lack a built-in USB 3.0 driver, so that a USB keyboard or other USB devices can be plugged into the USB 3.0 ports before the OS is installed with the USB 3.0 driver that comes with the motherboard.
What is EHCI?
It’s a specification for an enhanced host controller interface. It explains a USB 2.0 host controller’s register level interface. The EHCI specification describes the hardware/software interface between system software and host controller hardware, which is primarily used in hardware component design, system integrator development, and device driver (software) development.
You should first learn about HCI before moving on to EHCI (host controller interface). HCI stands for host controller interface, and it allows a host controller (such as a Southbridge or motherboard) to communicate with peripheral devices at the register level (such as USB, FireWire and Bluetooth).
The system initialises first when the peripherals are connected to the PC, and HCI begins reading and writing threads to establish the connection with the peripherals. HCI will then reset the peripheral and read the cache size in order to initiate communication with it. HCI has been improved with EHCI (extended host controller interface).
In a nutshell, the EHCI interface is also known as the USB2.0 interface. The USB devices you use are connected to your computer if it supports USB2.0.
The difference between EHCI and XHCI
Intel developed the extensible host controller interface (XHCI), which is a USB host controller. The USB protocol used by Intel Xinyi 100 series chips is XHCI master control, which is primarily focused on USB 3.0 but also compatible with USB 2.0 devices.
In a nutshell, XHCI is Intel’s most recent host controller interface. It’s commonly seen on motherboards in the 100 series, which correlate to Intel’s sixth-generation Skylake processor. It has USB 3.0 compatibility and is backwards compatible with USB 2.0.
The host controller interfaces EHCI and XHCI are the same thing. The former is built for the USB2.0 interface, whereas the latter was created using the current USB3.0 standard and is also USB2.0 compatible. In a nutshell, XHCI is a better version of EHCI.
The USB mouse and keyboard will fail when the win7 system is put on the 100 series motherboard due to the lack of an XHCI driver, however the win8 and win10 native systems will not due to the built-in XHCI driver.