Just like your graphics card, your motherboard actually comes with drivers. Windows is pretty good at automatically updating all those different drivers so that you do not have to do anything. But are motherboard drivers necessary?
The answer is that it really depends. Installing the chipset drivers for your motherboard is a very good idea, but you do not really need the audio or RAID drivers if your system does not have any trouble detecting your audio and storage devices. But if you see one of your SSDs or HDDs showing up as an unknown device, then installing a RAID driver can help with that.
But there is a lot more to that. Are motherboard drivers necessary to improve the performance of your system? What about the CD that comes with the motherboard? All these questions are answered below, so keep on reading to find out!
Are Motherboard Drivers Necessary?
Your motherboard has a few different drivers. All essential ones are immediately installed as soon as you boot up Windows on your system for the first time. This is good because, for example, ten years ago you would have to manually find the audio drivers for your specific motherboard just to get some sound. People who remember having to do this will tell you how much it sucked.
As you might have guessed, the CD that came with your motherboard has outdated drivers. Manufacturers tend to release quite a few updates in the first few months following the release of the motherboard. There is no point in installing those outdated drivers and you may not even have an optical disc drive. Instead, go to the motherboard manufacturer’s official website and get the drivers from there for your model.
But what about the Realtek drivers that are available for your motherboard now? Why does the manufacturer keep updating the drivers if they are working just fine? Unless you are experiencing issues with your audio, such as reduced volume, quality, or missing features, there is no need to update your audio drivers. In fact, a newer driver might mess up your experience instead of improving it.
The manufacturer has to update the drivers because of some compatibility issues. This is especially true when a new generation of CPUs comes out. Again, unless you are experiencing audio issues, you can safely ignore those drivers.
But what about the SATA RAID/AHCI drivers? Unless you are using a RAID configuration or have some issues with Windows recognizing your drives, there is no need to update those drivers either.
The last and perhaps most important drivers are the chipset drivers. You can download them either from the motherboard manufacturer’s website or directly from AMD or Intel’s websites. As you can probably guess, the motherboard manufacturer will most likely have outdated chipset drivers, so it is much better to download it from AMD or Intel.
So are motherboard drivers necessary here? In a way, yes. Your computer will work just fine without them, but you might be able to gain some free performance by simply updating your chipset drivers. They are pretty easy to install and almost never cause weird problems in a way that GPU drivers sometimes do.
It is important to note that you must download the chipset drivers for your specific chipset. For example, only download the B550 chipset drivers on your B550 motherboard. If you try to install the wrong chipset drivers, you could make your Windows crash.
Updated chipset drivers can change the way your CPU and RAM behave. A good example is the AMD Ryzen Balanced custom power plan that can improve power efficiency as well as performance by simply selecting it in your Windows Power Options in the Control Panel. So, those motherboard drivers are a good idea to install.
If your computer is working fine, i.e. if you do not have any issues with your audio, CPU performance, or storage, then you do not have to update your motherboard drivers. But it is still a good idea to download and install them, especially the chipset ones as they may improve the performance of your system. Audio and storage drivers are not necessary if you are not experiencing issues.