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What are the motherboard Chipset / USB / LAN drivers actually for?

I've always noticed that installing mobo drivers appears to make little difference to the system's performance / functionality. I've heard some people suggest that if there are no warnings in device manager, then Windows has automatically installed all the necessary drivers for you. However, if that was the case, surely it would warn you saying already have the suitable drivers installed when you try installing the mobo drivers directly, but it doesn't. What's the deal?

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Most components have a standard interface, meaning one driver can get the basic functionality  working. In the case of the network adaptor that may mean a basic 10Mbps link with no hardare acceleration, with USB it's enough to get devices working but maybe only at USB 1.1 speeds. When you install the manufacturers drivers, you get all the features of the hardware.

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10 minutes ago, Astroflash said:

However, if that was the case, surely it would warn you saying already have the suitable drivers installed when you try installing the mobo drivers directly, but it doesn't. What's the deal?

Windows doesn't baby you. If you want to install another driver it lets you install another driver. 

 

I do not install vendor drivers for anything other than GPU unless there is something unsupported natively, not performing as expected or lacking some functionality that I want and is possible with the vendor driver i.e. almost never since usually it's pretty much the opposite, the vendor driver is full of bloat that's unnecessary and reduces performance.

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Windows will usually either use a Generic Driver or pull a WHQL Driver from windows update.

 

Generic Drivers are targeted at multiple devices that share a similar interface, these drivers tend to provide basic functionality and usually no more. Depending on the device, this driver may be perfectly fine. It however may also not be performing to its full potential.

 

WHQL Drivers are drivers made by manufacturers and certified by Microsoft. These are usually fairly outdated, I have seen drivers that are 2+ years old, it really just depends on when Microsoft decides to update these after its certified. In this instance, you are just missing on any new improvements or features that have been pushed out to your device.

 

Generally Whatever Microsoft pulls for your device is probably fine, The only thing the average user should probably have to worry about is Graphics Drivers or Drivers for Devices that windows has no idea what it is. If you think something isn't working correctly, then look for a driver from the vendors website.

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On a fresh windows install, I just install the GPU drivers. I dont see the need for anything else. Maybe installing the chipset driver might allow for more functionality with various features on your motherboard, but for me, I never really noticed a difference.

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Before Win10 drivers had much bigger impact. If you have only used Win10, meaning of drivers will be lost to you.

 

USB driver for Win7 enabled USB3s. On some mobos chipset did that too. Same with SATA and those SATA ports that weren't handled by chipset. Before installing LAN you might not had internet connection.

 

With Win10 OS installs drivers while updating so you really don't see it before. You only have GPU and peripherals to worry about.

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15 hours ago, LogicalDrm said:

Before Win10 drivers had much bigger impact. If you have only used Win10, meaning of drivers will be lost to you.

 

USB driver for Win7 enabled USB3s. On some mobos chipset did that too. Same with SATA and those SATA ports that weren't handled by chipset. Before installing LAN you might not had internet connection.

 

With Win10 OS installs drivers while updating so you really don't see it before. You only have GPU and peripherals to worry about.

Then why do mobos still provide driver downloads for Win10?

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7 hours ago, Astroflash said:

Then why do mobos still provide driver downloads for Win10?

Probably same reason why they had driver CD included for longest time. I can think of 3 reasons. Offline installs. People like me, who don't trust Microsoft can pick correct driver. And the fact that they have to provide files to Microsoft anyway.

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