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I am in the process of building a computer and wondered if I should just use the drivers that shipped with the hardware or if it would be worth the effort to go to the manufacturers websites and download the latest versions for everything?

Does anyone have any thoughts or recommendations?

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I only used the CD when I had to install network adapter drivers, because I couldn't download them! Thank god, that's mostly over nowadays! – Ivo Flipse Nov 8 '10 at 15:24
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Get it from the manufacturer's website. They will be the most up to date. Keep the CDs just in case. In some cases, if your Ethernet driver isn't installed you can't go online to download drivers, so you would need to use the CD to first get online to download drivers. Usually your operating system will auto-detect a driver for your network interface though.

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+1 for getting the most up to date drivers – Ivo Flipse Nov 8 '10 at 15:22

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.

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That depends on the operating system. Generally speaking, if your OS comes with driver for this particular piece of hardware, use the OS-provided driver, because it's likely to be better quality. This is particularly true for Linux where manufacturers rarely bother to make a decent driver. Turn to the manufacturer's driver only if your hardware (or a specific function you want to use) is not supported by the OS.

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I am using Windows 7. – Icode4food Nov 6 '10 at 21:02

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