Taiwanese motherboard maker Gigabyte has just released a software update to solve the problems with recharging iPads on PCs. The company claims that this is the result of its motherboards' “unique USB power design,” which can “deliver extra power for devices that require more than the 500mA delivered from a traditional USB port.”
The move follows recent reports that many non-Apple machines can’t supply enough power via USB for the iPad to get a drink of power juice. A typical USB 2.0 port can supply up to 500mA, but Apple states that the device needs a high-power (1A) USB port to recharge without any issues.
According to Apple’s Support pages, “some USB 2.0 ports and accessories do not provide enough power to charge iPad.” The page adds that “When attached to a computer via a standard USB port (most PCs or older Mac computers) iPad will charge, but only when it's in sleep mode.”
This isn’t a lot of use for people who want to use their PC while recharge their iPad while they’re using it, especially if they’ve left the mains adaptor at home. While owners of new Apple computers, which have high-power USB ports, won’t find anything to complain about, plenty of PC owners have found that their USB ports simply aren’t up to the task.
However, if you own a Gigabyte motherboard based on Intel’s X58, P55, H55 or H57 chipset, or AMD’s 800-series of chipsets, then you can now get an update to charge the iPad properly. You can pick this up from here, and Gigabyte says that it will enable iPad owners to charge their poncy slates, whether they’re turned on or off.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that this issue isn’t really the fault of motherboard manufacturers anyway. After all, the USB 2.0 specification only requires an output of 500mA; it’s just that Apple has decided that the iPad needs a high-power USB port for recharging. Given the massive amount of hype surrounding the iPad, we’d be surprised if more motherboard manufacturers didn’t follow suit.