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What's the general vibe on using (older) OEM Drivers vs those that are available via Windows 10 when rebuilding a PC?

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Vocalpoint    27

I am in the process of rebuilding a few workstations here at home and was wondering what the consensus is between downloading (and installing ) OEM specific drivers for the motherboard vs simply letting Windows 10/Windows/Windows Update handle the drivers during install of the OS.

 

Now - let me preface this by saying I have a wide array of hardware here - some of it just 4 months old and other stuff dating back to 2013 (ASUS). These old P8Z77-V PRO boards may be aged on the calendar but they run Windows 10 just fine.

 

However - if I hit the ASUS site and download the "Latest" driver as supplied by ASUS - most of them are between 3-6 years old.

 

The logical side of my brain says that Microsoft must offer at least a basic driver for these components that would be newer (while stable) coming from either the OS ISO file or from Windows Update. The other side of my brain also tells me that I have read forum posts and other stuff saying that one "should" install these old timers (especially for the chipset and possible the Management Engine components). But I am not convinced.

 

So - what would you do in this case? Clearly I am not going to break out the original motherboard CD that came with the product - but do you bother with OEM updates that are 3, 4 or 5 years old when rebuilding a PC or just use whatever Windows decides to use?

 

Appreciate any intel from the field.

 

Cheers

 

VP

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Nick H.    9,758
1 hour ago, Vocalpoint said:

Cheers

 

VP

<Thread moved to Windows Discussion>

 

Someone pointed it out, and if I think about it drivers are more software-based than hardware. And your question is specific to Windows, so... ;)

 

I don't deal with drivers at home, I run it out-of-the-box. I'm also primarily running Linux Mint though, so that changes things a bit. But in the office I go to the computer manufacturer's site and download the drivers from there rather than looking for the specific component's website.

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sc302    1,725

Windows update is forcing you to take their drivers with windows 10.  I am not sure you have a whole lot of options.  Windows 7/8 OEM drivers website, all day long.

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Brandon H    2,915

device OEMs tend to be slow about their driver updates; I tend to either use the drivers from windows update or go to each hardware OEM (nvidia/intel/ect) and get the drivers directly.

 

The only drivers I use from the device OEM are touchpad drivers for laptops as they tend to have some customization from the vanilla hardware OEM drivers

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firey    3,910

I guess it depends on age.  I built a new PC this weekend and ensured I had the latest drivers from Asus.  That said, Asus released drivers less than a month ago and I doubt Windows would be pushing them.  Granted it's also a Gaming mobo so companies may handle drivers differently.

 

I prefer to go with OEM drivers unless there is some breaking issue that Windows has custom drivers to fix.

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Vocalpoint    27
49 minutes ago, firey said:

I guess it depends on age.  I built a new PC this weekend and ensured I had the latest drivers from Asus.  That said, Asus released drivers less than a month ago and I doubt Windows would be pushing them.  Granted it's also a Gaming mobo so companies may handle drivers differently.

 

I prefer to go with OEM drivers unless there is some breaking issue that Windows has custom drivers to fix.

Thanks for the updates guys - I do appreciate it.

 

I would certainly use the latest OEM drivers if it's a new-ish board. But if the board is 5 years old - not sure that installing a 2014 chipset package is the right move.

 

VP

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firey    3,910
2 minutes ago, Vocalpoint said:

Thanks for the updates guys - I do appreciate it.

 

I would certainly use the latest OEM drivers if it's a new-ish board. But if the board is 5 years old - not sure that installing a 2014 chipset package is the right move.

 

VP

I guess at the end of the day it comes down to "Does it work". If the board is 5 years old, I doubt newer drivers will make that much of an impact.

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xendrome    5,418

Those drivers via WU exist for two reasons typically, proven stability and to make sure devices are functional after install/first update. If you can get newer drivers and know what you are doing, get the latest from the mfg.

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Vocalpoint    27
Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, firey said:

I guess at the end of the day it comes down to "Does it work". If the board is 5 years old, I doubt newer drivers will make that much of an impact.

True dat.


However -  I think I am more concerned about installing a 5 year chipset package from ASUS being too big of step back (or even an operational risk) when we have 4 years worth of Windows 10 releases (with updated drivers) behind us already.

 

It's fair to assume that MS simply cannot test all versions of all OEM drivers for all boards slipping way back 5 or 6 years vs Windows itself offering a slightly newer but fully tested (and known stable) driver as a default. 

 

I think the "does it work" question is the right one. Probably best to not overthink it too much.

 

I will still look at getting the latest drivers for key components like display adapters (nVidia/Intel) and possibly LAN interface.

 

Appreciate the updates.

 

VP 

Edited by Vocalpoint

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techbeck    6,870

I mainly deal with OEM drivers if I am having issues with the ones Windows finds or if they are not available in Windows.  Or if I want the software utility/extra options that a lot of OEM drivers have.

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Vocalpoint    27
14 hours ago, techbeck said:

I mainly deal with OEM drivers if I am having issues with the ones Windows finds or if they are not available in Windows.  Or if I want the software utility/extra options that a lot of OEM drivers have.

I am with ya. If (and that's a big if) a newer driver is even available and IF that driver brings something useful to the table - I might consider it.

 

But this is usually only for the display adapter - which in many cases is always updated regularly.

 

For everything else - especially drivers needed during initial setup - I will now let Windows do it's thing and check Device Manager at first logon. If I do not see any warning flags - and everything is working  I am going to leave it at that.

 

Given the age of some of this hardware - I do not see the sense in reverting back to a 2013 OEM chipset package when Windows already put a circa 2016 driver set in place during setup. Especially when Windows 10 did not exist when this 2013 chipset package was first created.

 

VP

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goretsky    1,045

Hello,

 

I will typically download and save the manufacturer's OEM drivers for hardware that I purchase throughout its lifecycle, especially if it is something that contains manufacturer-specific functionality, such as specific sound card features or co-branded applications.  However, I will also download and install device drivers directly from the chip manufacturer (AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Realtek, etc.) and use those to update the OEM drivers.  Usually doing so leaves the manufacturer-specific application and features alone, although sometimes you do end up having the customized manufacturer's application replaced with the OEM's specific one.

 

Generally speaking, I usually end up with using whichever is the latest device driver available, since they tend to contain bug fixes and security fixes not present in the older device drivers.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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Vocalpoint    27
5 hours ago, goretsky said:

Hello,

 

I will typically download and save the manufacturer's OEM drivers for hardware that I purchase throughout its lifecycle, especially if it is something that contains manufacturer-specific functionality, such as specific sound card features or co-branded applications.  However, I will also download and install device drivers directly from the chip manufacturer (AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Realtek, etc.) and use those to update the OEM drivers.  Usually doing so leaves the manufacturer-specific application and features alone, although sometimes you do end up having the customized manufacturer's application replaced with the OEM's specific one.

 

Generally speaking, I usually end up with using whichever is the latest device driver available, since they tend to contain bug fixes and security fixes not present in the older device drivers.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

Aryeh

 

Thanks for the update - I too tend to download the most recent driver updates for graphics cards/sound cards etc

 

But would you use a 2013 OEM chipset package from ASUS (that goes specifically with the board) when a newer (But usually more generic) version is already installed by Windows 10 during initial setup?

 

I am completely skeptical on why anyone would want to revert back to a 6 year chipset package on a 2013 board if everything is already working.

 

VP

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Brandon H    2,915
8 minutes ago, Vocalpoint said:

But would you use a 2013 OEM chipset package from ASUS (that goes specifically with the board) when a newer (But usually more generic) version is already installed by Windows 10 during initial setup?

no, if Windows installed a newer version then I'd leave it be if you're not experiencing issues with it.

 

as Goretsky said the newer version is bound to have more security patches and such.

 

 

edit: Windows 10 wasn't even out yet in 2013 so that older driver definitely wouldn't be optimized for the OS, so another good reason to stick with the newer driver that WU installed :)

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cork1958    1,668

Have never in the past had any issues simply using what Windows Updates installs. Have used refurbished computers most of my life and even when reinstalling what was on those computers or updating to newer versions of Windows, they've always worked fine. About the only drivers I've ever purposely went looking for were the chipset drivers, but not always even at that. Never been a gamer, so never really worried about graphics drivers.

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+InsaneNutter    1,339

I just let Windows 10 install the drivers from Windows Update then check device manager after and see if anything is missing.

 

If I was still playing games on the PC the exception to this would be GPU drivers which I would update regularly.

 

Generally my consensus these days is my PC should be working for me, not the other way around. If the driver is on Windows Update it seems to be stable in my experience so i'm happy to use it. I'd honestly probably never notice the difference between a slightly newer driver unless I was having a specific issue with something and a newer driver resolved that issue.

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Vocalpoint    27
39 minutes ago, InsaneNutter said:

Generally my consensus these days is my PC should be working for me, not the other way around. If the driver is on Windows Update it seems to be stable in my experience so i'm happy to use it. I'd honestly probably never notice the difference between a slightly newer driver unless I was having a specific issue with something and a newer driver resolved that issue.

My thoughts exactly. Outside of graphics (and possible sound) I am simply going to take what WU is giving. At least I know they are solid and well tested.

 

Thanks all for the input - I do appreciate it.

 

VP

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goretsky    1,045

Hello,
 

During a clean install of an operating system, I typically install the manufacturer-specific drivers when I am aware that they have some manufacturer-specific feature or functionality included in them.  Example of this might include certain audio features (sound driver) or fan monitoring software (video card).  There are, however, not that many device drivers that come with these types of customizations, and it would only be if I wanted those customizations. 

 

After installation, I would then update the drivers, though, with the goal (expectation? hope?) being that the device drivers from the chip designer or installed via Windows Update do not break that manufacturer-specific functionality (usually by replacing the co-branded application with the silicon vendor's generic one).  If they do, I am usually inclined to keep the latest driver installed, for the reasons mentioned in my previous post (fixes).

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

12 hours ago, Vocalpoint said:

Aryeh

 

Thanks for the update - I too tend to download the most recent driver updates for graphics cards/sound cards etc

 

But would you use a 2013 OEM chipset package from ASUS (that goes specifically with the board) when a newer (But usually more generic) version is already installed by Windows 10 during initial setup?

 

I am completely skeptical on why anyone would want to revert back to a 6 year chipset package on a 2013 board if everything is already working.

 

VP

 

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goretsky    1,045

Hello,

I, too, have been remarkably free of issues with Windows Update.  There was one that was problematic for many users discussed here on Neowin in the past which affected me as well, but for the most part they have been without issue.  One thing to keep in mind, though, is that device drivers deployed through Windows Updates rarely deploy the applications which manage the special features of the hardware.  This may be important for devices such as sound cards where you want to enable features, speaker settings, etc., that are not available via Windows Settings or the Control Panel.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

 

12 hours ago, cork1958 said:

Have never in the past had any issues simply using what Windows Updates installs. Have used refurbished computers most of my life and even when reinstalling what was on those computers or updating to newer versions of Windows, they've always worked fine. About the only drivers I've ever purposely went looking for were the chipset drivers, but not always even at that. Never been a gamer, so never really worried about graphics drivers.

 

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cork1958    1,668
11 hours ago, goretsky said:

Hello,

I, too, have been remarkably free of issues with Windows Update.  There was one that was problematic for many users discussed here on Neowin in the past which affected me as well, but for the most part they have been without issue.  One thing to keep in mind, though, is that device drivers deployed through Windows Updates rarely deploy the applications which manage the special features of the hardware.  This may be important for devices such as sound cards where you want to enable features, speaker settings, etc., that are not available via Windows Settings or the Control Panel.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

 

 

Wow! You remember that issue and found the article about it that was from 16 years ago! Can't say as I remember having that issue.

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Vocalpoint    27

Just to cap this one off - this weekend I rebuilt my son's gaming PC - and let Windows 10 handle the majority of the driver action - it is rock solid and working probably better than the original build done in Dec 2016 (where the OEM stuff would have been considered "new" at the time).

 

The only things I over wrote were graphics card (Win 10 placed a 2017 driver) and the Logitech webcam. Everything else is 100% working and running great.

 

Appreciate the discussion in this thread.

 

Cheers!

 

VP

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