I myself never use drivers from manufacturer if at all possible. Instead I go directly to chipset maker. They usually have newer drivers which can sometimes fix serious bugs. For example my network card when working with manufacturer's or M$'s drivers cant autonegotiate 1 Gig speed, but with chipset maker's drivers, everything works fine. Also manufacturer's drivers for my laptop don't support its graphics card! Good thing nVidia makes drivers for laptops available for download. Sometimes though, it's impossible to avoid manufacturer. For example it's very difficult to obtain drivers for some integrated card readers, integrated modems or consumer IR chips from third party sources.
Also, a good tip is to get newest drivers for computer once windows is installed and everything is working correctly and back them up to a CD. It happened to me that I had a TV card which came with non-operational drivers on its driver CD. Manufacturer made newer drivers available and few years later replaced those drivers for newer drivers which don't work for me. Now that card works only under GNU/Linux. Also for my laptop, manufacturer updated its website and now none of the driver download links work. I found that out once I already formatted my hard drive and installed fresh installation of windows. Fortunately, I had rare drivers backed up.
Also, I never ever use drivers from CDs that come with hardware. They are often outdated and sometimes won't even work with the device.