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Motherboard Driver Updates - Do it? Or If it ain't broke...?

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a b V Motherboard
September 4, 2010 2:53:39 AM

How many people stay on top of driver updates for their motherboards? I know there's a lot of people who feel 'if it ain't broke, don't touch it' - at least I see a lot of forum members take that approach toward BIOS updates.

But what about driver updates? For example, I haven't touched my GA-P55M-UD2 drivers since I built my machine, almost year ago. Two specific driver updates I'm looking at are:

1) The Realtek HD audio drivers which have moved from R2.27 (6/16/09) to the newest which is R2.51 (8/13/2010)
2) The Realtek LAN driver which has gone from 7.004 (7/10/2009) to 7.018 (6/4/2010)

So how many people always update their drivers? Or never do? Or only do if improvements have been made?

And how can I tell what kind of improvements, if any, have been made?
a c 235 V Motherboard
September 4, 2010 12:35:26 PM

As for drivers, I'm a believer in keeping them up-to-date. It isn't a major issue to do and keeps your drivers current. Most people keep their graphics card drivers updated, so why not the other drivers?

I agree with the BIOS... "if ain't broke... Don't fix it". I support that thought process because if you mess up a BIOS flash, it is a bigger issue than a bad driver install.
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a c 117 V Motherboard
September 4, 2010 1:09:56 PM

^+ 1 good advice and the same one i practice.
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a b V Motherboard
September 4, 2010 1:27:08 PM

I don't know why but my philosophy has always been the opposite. Maybe it's because with a little research I can tell what a BIOS update is supposed to do. And I am confident in how to update BIOS (for example, not using a Windows based utility). Whereas with driver updates I'm never sure what I'm getting and I've had bad drivers in the past, not that they're usually difficult to recover from.

Granted video card drivers I usually check in on once a month or so.

What about the Intel Chipset Drivers aka Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility aka IntelĀ® Chipset Device Software (seriously, why does this need renamed as often as it is) - any benefit to keeping those up to date?
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a c 235 V Motherboard
September 4, 2010 1:36:18 PM

As for drivers... I typically just update based on the motherboard site and what they provide, so I know it is compatible with my system. I don't check manufacturer's websites (outside of GPU's).
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a c 156 V Motherboard
September 5, 2010 9:25:35 AM

I regard motherboard chipset drivers much like the BIOS. I pretty much do not upgrade unless either I am having problem or I hear of others having problems.
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a c 716 V Motherboard
September 6, 2010 8:38:52 PM

If the whole World or Environment "stopped" then I won't upgrade once I had a stable & reliable system. However, that is not the case...

Software {including OS/OS patches} alone adds a full spectrum of new "problems" and/or "requirements." Example ~ Constantly, I am updating drivers of my GPUs on gaming rigs - {both compatibility and performance}

As far as the BIOS, if I can see an added benefit based upon configuration or need then I'll update the BIOS.

So to sum it up - Forces at work are "Improvement" and/or "Need" which are the only reasons fueling the needs of BIOS, Drivers, and Firmware. Further, in my case I have A LOT of computers {notebooks, net-book, gaming, media, workstations, servers, ets} and each environment has its own rules: Production, Personal, or Experimental (a/k/a Enthusiast).
Production are highly controlled and conservatively managed. {Approved list, Security, Stability, Workload, etc}
Personal is sensible similar to Production but more risky {Performance, Security, Stability, etc }
Experimental try anything that makes any sense or may improve performance. {Performance above all else}

At HP my motto was "If it ain't broke I can still make it better."

Currently, I run on some bleeding-edge rigs with SATA3, SSD {C300}, and GPUs ALL of which are changing day-by-day. Also, there's the need for FIRMWARE. You can always rollback, and drivers are especially easy to rollback. Conversely, mature, older, or out of date systems ~ BIOS, Drivers, etc are less of a concern and their more matured configurations need updates even less, or worst can suffer in performance or stability with newer changes.

^I would tend to disagree with some of the comments regarding the "source" of the Drivers. Often I have discovered that the MOBO companies do not keep up with the best performing or most stable Drivers, and even with documented problems often don't update the corrected Driver. As soon as the MOBO's sales or production drops so does the Driver testing.

As far as "How Can I Tell?" - In most cases you won't be able to tell without extensive benchmark testing or without running across the problem each version "fixes" or "improves". To be on the conservative side, if Windows Update recommends the update chances are it's a good idea. To be on the Production conservative side verify {Driver, BIOS, Firmware} against compatible Approved list devices or applications; it's complex and time consuming. Further, I cannot remember a time updating a Realtek driver caused an issue...knock on wood.
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a b V Motherboard
September 13, 2010 1:50:45 AM

Best answer selected by ekoostik.
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