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OEM vs generic drivers

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I was wondering, what drivers should I install, the OEM ones (from Dell, in my case) or the generic ones from, say, Intel and NVIDIA?

The latest NVIDIA display driver that Dell provides for my laptop is version 391.25, while the latest NVIDIA generic one is 471.17. However, if you look at the driver history for my specific GPU (GTX 850M), 391.25 wasn't released by NVIDIA as a generic driver, so I'm assuming Dell does make changes to their drivers.


How about for WiFi/Bluetooth drivers?

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get the generic one, it should work.

when its not, you boot to windows in save mode, and revert back to the original.

for wifi, make sure you have the right chipset model and version.

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As a general rule I install the most recent nvidia driver. It has caused some issues sometimes and I've had to roll back to an older version, but that happens with anything.


For every other device I use the driver off of the laptop manufacturers website, if for no other reason than it is easier.

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The way I see it ...


Your GTX 850M is a video card with a chip from 2014, based on the Maxwell architecture. Since then, nVidia released cards with several other architectures, like Pascal and now Turing (read it as different generations or families of chips)

nVidia would most like apply most updates and most improvements in drivers for their newest generations of chips, and give lower priority to older generation cards, or only fixing major bugs or issues that are discovered (like let's say a very popular game not working well due to some optimization or bug in old driver and enough people complain about it)

It may be that Dell saw no significant improvements in the newer drivers that would affect your video card's performance, so they didn't bother making available a newer version for you.

It could also be that they're just lazy and can't be bothered to put newer drivers for such old systems, focusing their efforts in supporting just newer systems.

It could also be that they branded that last version they have available (put logos or images in the driver with dell branding) and maybe tweaked some settings for better power management, and maybe they just don't want to make those changes again on newer versions of the drivers because that would imply hours of testing the driver before making it available and so on.


I would suggest downloading the latest driver from nVidia and testing your computer with it. If something seems wrong , you can always use DDU to uninstall the driver and install the one supplied by Dell.


As for Wifi and bluetooth, it's often best to stick to the ones supplied by Dell (or other OEM), these are a bit more finicky, and they may be customized in some ways or be specific revisions of chips for certain territories ... it's overall safer to stick to what's on the manufacturer's website.

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Use DDU and install generic driver


Both also work TBH

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Feel free to install the manufacturers' drivers for everything, I consider that to be the best choice.

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The best practice is to use the Manufacturer drivers for everything with the exception of the Wireless Card Drivers (WLAN/bluetooth) and the Graphics Driver just grab the latest from nVIDIA. A lot of the newer games won't even run on older drivers so.


As for the Wireless card drivers, it's fine to use the original ones from your laptop's manufacturer most of the time but if you're on Windows 10, as it gets updated to newer builds, usually the older drivers cause issues.

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