Low FPS in Crysis? Stuttering music in iTunes? Slow hard disk performance when copying files? Old drivers that come out of the box can ruin your entire PC experience. Rarely do they offer the latest bug fixes and performance improvements. This blog post offers detailed instructions on how to update drivers that are crucial to your computer’s performance, the actual impact they will have, and where to get them.
Why do drivers have such an influence on performance? They’re the piece of software that tells your PC how to interact with the hardware—they drive your PC! There are three main driver categories that you will want to look at for boosting performance: video cards, soundcards/soundchips, and chipsets. These key drivers will improve the quality time you spend with your PC. To bring these three categories up to speed, read our ultimate guide. We will update the drivers guide on a regular basis and add new links. Since there are literally thousands of different hardware configurations out there, our initial focus lies on the most popular and widespread hardware (both found in desktop-PCs and notebooks).
Step 1: Get the latest drivers via Windows Update
First, check with Windows Update for drivers, as you can often find the latest ones here. It’s usually a good step to get the latest official drivers that have passed the Microsoft certification. These are mostly stable drivers, but if you want more performance, be sure to read our other steps to check if the hardware manufacturer has more up-do-date drivers in store.
Step 2: Update your graphics driver
One of the most important steps to increasing your computer’s or notebook’s performance is to always use the latest driver for your graphic card. What can you expect?
- Increased frame rates (FPS, frames per seconds) in games. For example: The latest Release 185 drivers for nVidias GeForce offers 25 percent more performance in Crysis Warhead and 45 percent increase in Mirror’s Edge.
- Fewer crashes: Did you know that over 80 percent of blue screens in Windows Vista (back in January 2007, when Vista shipped) were caused by buggy graphic drivers? For less crashes and freezes, makes sure you use the latest drivers.
- Smoother user interface and browsing: Windows Vista and Windows 7 heavily rely on your graphic card to display animations—and so do some GPU-heavy applications such as video and photo editing. Using the latest drivers, guarantees that your operating system and its applications run as smoothly as possible.
Notes: All mobile users with integrated GeForce M solutions, should select the appropriate notebook drivers, for example “GeForce 9M Series (notebook).”
Notes: Only use Internet Explorer or Firefox with this website. The site needs a couple of moments to detect your Intel GMA chip and offer you the appropriate driver.
Step 3: Update your audio driver
Crackling or poor sound quality? Time to switch to the original audio driver with the latest one out there:
Download the latest driver for your Realtek HD Audio onboard chipset
Mirror, in case the Realtek website is too slow: Latest driver for Realtek HD Audio
Step 4: Update your chipset driver
The chipset is what coordinates CPU, RAM, your hard disk controller, and other integrated devices. To get the most speed out of your machine, make sure you use the latest chipset drivers:
Download the latest official nVidia chipset drivers from here (select “nForce” under “Product type”)
Step 5 – Check your hardware manufacturer
Can’t find the latest drivers for your machine? Check the website of the company that manufactured your PC or notebook, for example, Dell, HP, MSI, or Samsung. To find the best drivers for your computer, you must know the exact product name (or ID) of, for example “HP tx1120us.”
Step 6 – What about beta drivers?
Are they safe? Do they help? This is a bit of a mixed bag and some are great. My recommendation would be to only go with betas if your PC has a specific need and there isn’t a full release available. Here’s a good site that will help you: find beta drivers. If you’re into the latest mobile beta drivers, head over to: http://www.laptopvideo2go.com to get them!
Drivers change, so we’ll keep touching on this issue and update this list every once in a while. Do you know of a good driver update not listed here? Let us know! Hit the comment button and make sure to throw a link in for us too.
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