No Trip Without The Driver: An Excursion Into The Software Behind Today's Hardware

Conclusion

I think it is pretty obvious that a thorough installation of graphics, chipset and storage drivers is very important. In fact, it is even more important than spending days trying to optimize BIOS settings or considering an upgrade to a faster CPU. Equipped with a decent amount of main memory, every computer at 700 MHz (or of course more) will do it for the next months. Just make sure that performance doesn't get wasted because you forgot to install or update important drivers.

Note:

A nice parallel to this article is emerging right now by NVIDIA's pre-release of the DetonatorXP driver just in time for the presentation of the new ATI R200 family. One year ago, the battle between nVIDIA's GeForce2 and ATI's Radeon was not directly won by nVIDIA's introduction of the accelerated GeForce2 (the Ultra), but by the former release of the Detonator 3 driver set! If you've already read Tom's preview of the new ATI 7500 and 8500, you will know that nVIDIA has repeated this scenario.

Graphics Drivers

ATI Drivers

You can find the latest drivers at:
support.ati.com/products/pc/graphics/index.html

Intel (drivers for integrated chipsets)

You can find the latest drivers at support.intel.com/support/graphics .

Matrox Drivers

The latest drivers can be found on a table that includes all operating systems and graphics boards: matrox.com/mga/support/drivers/latest/home.cfm

nVIDIA Reference Drivers

for Riva128, TNT, TNT2, GeForce, GeForce2, GeForce 3
Windows 95/98/ME (opens in new tab)
Windows 2000 (opens in new tab)

S3 Drivers

It's a bit more difficult with S3. You have to go to ranger.s3graphics.com and first agree to the license agreement at the bottom of the page. Next you will be asked to enter username and password. Both can be found at the S3 website. It's both "archive".

VIA Drivers

You can find download links for integrated chipset drivers here:
via.com.tw/jsp/en/dr/driver.jsp

Chipset, AGP And Storage Drivers

ALi

You can download the latest driver from Acer Laboratories here:
ali.com.tw/eng/support/contact/tech_support.htm

AMD

Unfortunately, AMD does not provide the AGP drivers on their website. That's why the following links will open the download links on MSI's website. Nevertheless, the drivers will work with all AMD760 motherboards - independent from the manufacturer.
AMD AGP Miniport Driver 5.22 (Windows 2000)
AMD AGP Miniport Driver 4.80 (Windows 9x)
AMD AGP Miniport Driver 4.80 (Windows ME)

Intel

Chipset Software Installation (including AGP Driver)
Busmaster IDE Drivers (440FX, LX, BX, ZX)
UltraATA Storage Drivers (i8xx)

SiS

Chipset Software and Drivers: sis.com/support/driver/utility.htm

VIA

Chipset Driver Guide: via.com.tw/jsp/en/dr/driver.jsp
This page mostly links to the latest 4in1 driver set. It includes all components: Chipset software, AGP VxD driver, IDE storage driver, USB filter driver and Ethernet driver.

Microsoft DirectX

You can download the latest version here:

microsoft.com/directx/homeuser/downloads/default.asp (opens in new tab)
DirectX 8.0a (W9x/ME) (opens in new tab)
DirectX 8.0a (Windows 2000) (opens in new tab)

Windows 2000 Service Pack 2

You can download Service Pack 2 in your language version here:

Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 (opens in new tab)