Drivers are essential for all hardware to function and as time goes on driver versions are updated to allow hardware to perform better. In a graphics cards’ life span, from the first to the last driver update, you could easily expect to observe a 10-30% increase in performance. This applies to both integrated graphics solutions, such as chipset and APU graphics, in addition to discrete solutions such as graphics cards. Motherboard drivers can also bring performance increases too, by using the latest chipset, LAN, SATA/RAID and Audio drivers you can keep all your hardware functioning at its best whilst ensuring the latest bugs are fixed and you have the optimal compatibility for installing new hardware. Some hardware, such as your processor (CPU), memory (RAM) and hard drives (HDD) do not require driver updates in the same way, so cannot be improved.
When it comes to graphics, you have one of four options: ATi (now owned by AMD), AMD, Nvidia or Intel. Intel HD Graphics are the most common form of graphics, AMD/ATi and Nvidia are most common for discrete video cards. You can download the latest drivers for your cards from the following locations:
We recommend you find out what graphics hardware you have before attempting to download and install drivers for it. In addition to knowing the hardware you must also know what operating system you have and whether it is 32 or 64bit. The use of the program CPU-Z is highly recommended to identify your Graphics hardware. To identify your operating system you should visit your System information in the Windows Control Panel, this can be accessed through the start menu.
When determining which motherboard drivers to download it gets a bit more complex. If your PC uses a normal vendor for its motherboard such as MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte, ECS, EVGA, Zotac, Intel or others then you can pick up all the latest drivers from the respective websites, of course you must pick the drivers that are compatible with your operating system. With regards to pre-built systems from big PC companies like Acer, HP and Dell (to name but a few), you will probably have to collect the latest drivers by entering your computer model name and number on their websites. The utility CPU-Z is again highly recommended for identifying your motherboard, by installing CPU-Z and visiting the “Mainboard” tab of the program interface.
As mentioned in the introduction, the key drivers to look out for when working with the motherboard are the chipset, LAN, SATA/RAID and Audio drivers. Keeping all of these up to date will keep performance at the absolute highest and should reduce the risk of errors and compatibility issues. Conduct all updates with caution and remember to always back important settings up, in some rare situations it may be necessary to roll back driver updates using Windows device manager if the newer drivers cause problems – however this is a rare occurrence.