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I have a custom built machine which utilizes an XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 video card. I recently upgraded the machine to Windows 8 which very nicely detected and installed the video card driver on my behalf. I know that Windows 8 (and Windows 7 for that matter) will keep drivers up to date via Windows Update, but I am wondering if this is a good idea for a video card driver.

Am I better off downloading drivers from AMD and letting their software manage driver updates? Are there pitfalls to letting windows manage my video card drivers?

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"Are there pitfalls to letting windows manage my video card drivers?" Yes, you won't have the latest and greatest, nor are you able to download beta drivers. This is only because WHQL certification takes time (and rightly so, might I add). – Breakthrough Mar 6 '13 at 13:23
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Windows Update does provide updates to drivers for hardware such as video cards. The drivers they provide are only the ones provided by the hardware manufacturer for Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) certification - as well as commonly used non-WHQL drivers. Manufacturers often provide MS with the drivers to get WHQL certified so they can put the Windows logo on their product. Windows Update does not provide updates to these drivers, unless the manufacturer provides them with new drivers for certification. However, most manufacturers do not, as they have to pay MS to get each version re-certified. So the MS provided drivers - especially video card drivers - are often way out of date. They are guaranteed to work, however they wont have any current optimizations, new/advanced features, or bug fixes.

When it comes to video card drivers, getting the latest official release direct from hardware hardware manufacturer is the best choice. For AMD, I believe the Catalyst Control Center will inform you that updated drivers are available.

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