You may know that the motherboard is the central circuit board of a computer and that drivers are needed to allow communication between the operating system and hardware and software components.
You may also know that without drivers, the computer will not function properly.
You may be wondering if you need to install the motherboard drivers yourself.
Do I Need To Install Motherboard Drivers?
No, motherboards come with the generic drivers needed to run the motherboard’s chipset and components preinstalled.
This is why, when you turn on a computer for the first time, you can begin the personal setup process immediately.
If the motherboard did not have the preinstalled drivers, it would not be able to communicate with the components of your computer.
However, it is important to update the motherboard drivers for improved functionality.
But, as stated, motherboards already come with a generic set of chipset drivers preinstalled on them to facilitate communication between the motherboard and its primary components.
Will A Motherboard Work Without The Driver?
No, a motherboard is simply a circuit board filled with transistors and input slots.
For a motherboard to work, it needs something to tell all of its components what to do.
Picture it like this: A motherboard is like a car.
A car is essentially just a bunch of inanimate parts put together.
For a car to work, it needs a driver to tell it what to do.
Even a self-driving car needs some type of input to function.
Without this input, it will just sit there and do nothing.
This is where the motherboard driver comes in.
A motherboard must have some type of driver installed on it to function properly.
Does A Motherboard Still Need Drivers If It Has Windows?
Yes, a motherboard still needs to have basic drivers installed on it, even if it runs the Windows OS.
While newer versions of Windows do come with basic drivers for communicating with the motherboard, the motherboard itself still requires drivers.
When Windows is loaded, it must interact with the motherboard drivers.
While this interaction may be slight, it is still necessary for the boot-up and loading processes.
The operating system is installed on top of the motherboard drivers.
This is why you can load an operating system in the first place.
When a computer is first built, it does not have an operating system on it.
The motherboard drivers are in place to facilitate communication between the installed components on the motherboard such as the processor and integrated video and sound cards.
Even after the operating system is installed, the motherboard drivers are still used in the boot-up process to run basic component checks.
After these checks are run, the operating system is then loaded up.
This is why, when you first fire up a computer, there is an option available for a few seconds that allows you to load directly into the motherboard before the operating system loads, typically by entering an F function such as F11 or F8.
How Do I Know What Motherboard Is Installed On My Computer?
There are two simple methods you can use to see what motherboard your Windows device is using.
Method 1: Use The Command Prompt
- Click on the search bar in the bottom left-hand corner of your desktop. Type in CMD and the command prompt application will appear. Open the command prompt.
- Once the command prompt is open, type in the following exactly:
wmic baseboard get product, Manufacturer
- Once you press enter, the information you are looking for will appear. The information is written in column form with the Manufacturer’s name underneath “manufacturer” and the product identification number underneath “product.”
Method 2: Use System Information
- Click on the search bar in the bottom left-hand corner of your desktop. Type in System Information. The system information application will appear. Open system information.
- When system information opens, it will list all of the information about the system in the right-hand window. The manufacturer name and product number will be listed either under “motherboard” or “baseboard.”
- The information available includes the motherboard/baseboard manufacturer, the motherboard/baseboard product, and the motherboard/baseboard version.
To find out what type of motherboard your Mac has, follow these steps.
- Find the Apple logo in the top left-hand corner of the screen. Click on the logo. A drop-down menu will appear.
- Once the drop-down menu appears, click About this Mac, which will be towards the top of the list.
- After the About this Mac page opens, it will display the Overview of the Mac device with the current OS it is running as well as information on its processor and memory. Look toward the bottom of the page and you will see a Serial Number with an odd series of mixed letters, numbers, or symbols next to it. This is the serial number of your motherboard.
- Mac is set up a bit differently than Windows products. With a Mac, you have to contact Apple directly or use a third-party source to retrieve the information you need on your motherboard. To do either of these, you need the serial number you found earlier.
There is only one way to find out what motherboard a Linux machine is operating on without manually disassembling the tower and viewing the motherboard.
- Open the root terminal.
- In the terminal, type the following:
dmidecode -t 2
- Basic information on your motherboard will be displayed such as the manufacturer, product name, and version number.
- If you would like more information on your motherboard including what devices are installed on the motherboard, type the following:
dmidecode -t baseboard
Information on what devices are installed on the motherboard will be displayed as well as all of the information on the motherboard.
Do I Need To Update My Motherboard Drivers?
Yes, you should update your motherboard drivers.
This will increase the efficiency and functionality of your system.
Motherboard driver updates are released by the motherboard manufacturer and can be found on the manufacturer’s website.
Do I Need To Delete The Old Motherboard Drivers Before I Install New Ones?
No, you do not need to delete the old motherboard drivers before you install new ones.
The old drivers take up very little space in the memory of the device and their presence on the device will not affect operations in any way.
How Do I Update My Motherboard Drivers?
To update your motherboard driver, the first thing you must do is locate the motherboard ID using the steps detailed earlier or by physically looking at the motherboard within the tower or device.
Once you have found the motherboard information, go to the manufacturer’s website and search for your particular motherboard.
After you have found your motherboard, choose the update which is compatible with your device and download the update.
This update will most likely not autorun so you will have to find the file in your download folder and run the .exe file.
Once the .exe file begins, it should walk you through the update process step by step.
A second way to update your motherboard drivers is to use a third-party source to automate the task.
Various resources can be used for this process.
When deciding on which product to choose for the automation process, be sure to find a reputable company with solid reviews.
The benefit of using a third-party resource is that you do not need to worry about finding out what type of motherboard you are using or what update you should install.
The resource you choose will do all of this for you as well as provide any updates which may arise in the future.
Do I Need To Install Motherboard Drivers If I Am Building A Computer From Scratch?
Yes, in this case, you will need to install the motherboard drivers which coincide with the component you have installed onto your motherboard.
Most motherboards will come with a CD that has the drivers stored on it.
Simply insert the CD and follow the directions to complete the installation.
After installing, it is also wise to go to the manufacturer’s website and look for any updates which might have been released since the original release of the product you installed.
If you do not have a CD drive on your device, you can install the drivers you need by saving them onto a USB drive and uploading them into the system.
What Are The Different Types Of Motherboard Drivers?
The most common types of motherboard drivers include the network driver which controls how the device connects to the internet, such as the ethernet driver.
A second motherboard driver is the chipset driver which controls the chipset on the motherboard.
The third primary motherboard driver is the sound driver which controls communication between the integrated sound card and CPU.
Additional motherboard drivers can include the USB driver and the SATA driver.
Intel products also include the Intel Management Engine which is needed for advanced functionality.
Where Are Motherboard Drivers Stored?
The drivers for the motherboard are stored in the systems BIOS or UEFI.
The BIOS, or Basic Input-Output System, is the computer’s built-in firmware which determines what a computer can and cannot do without additional software installation.
The BIOS is basically the backbone of the computer.
The BIOS is stored in non-volatile storage which means that it retains its information even when there is no power running in the system.
Once a device is powered on, the boot-up process begins, starting with the BIOS running the POST, which is the Power-On Self-Test.
This test checks to see if the computer is meeting the boot-up requirements.
Once the POST is completed, the BIOS will confirm contact and communication to its primary devices.
This is where the motherboard drivers come into play.
Once this connection is established, the BIOS will initiate the bootstrap sequence, which is when the BIOS attempts to find and load the OS.
UEFI, or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, is a more sophisticated BIOS.
The UEFI, like the BIOS, lies between the computer’s basic functions and the operating system and is used to connect the two together.
UEFI is capable of handling larger hard drives, over 2 TB, and is equipped with more security functions, an easy-to-navigate user interface, and faster loading capabilities because the OS is stored in the same location as the UEFI.
While UEFI is gaining popularity among motherboard developers, many motherboards are incompatible with UEFI and continue to use the less expensive BIOS firmware.
Also key to note is that some users and even manufacturers may be using the UEFI firmware but are still referring to it as the BIOS due to the popularity and general knowledge of the term.
To differentiate, some users have taken to referring to UEFI as UEFI BIOS and the traditional BIOS firmware a Legacy BIOS.
What Is A Motherboard Chipset?
The term chipset came from the old days of computer technology when motherboards had a literal set of chips for the northbridge and the southbridge.
These chips, when spoken about as a grouping, were called a chipset.
Today, however, most of the functions of the chipset are carried out by the CPU with perhaps a single additional chip to complete the set.
However, the functionality the chipset provided is still used and is still designated by the term chipset.
The chipset of the motherboard controls the compatibility between the motherboard and the CPU, RAM, and PCI Express lanes.
What type of RAM is supported, DDR3 or DDR4 for example, and how many PCI Express lanes are available is controlled by the chipset.
How Do I Know What Chipset My Motherboard Has?
To determine what chipset your motherboard has, simply Google search the product number or go directly to the manufacturer’s website.
Almost all pages you find about the motherboard will contain the chipset information.
The chipset may also be indicated in the name of the motherboard itself.
The chipset is expressed as a string of letters and numbers.
The two primary motherboard chipset manufacturers are Intel and AMD.
Each manufacturer uses a combination of one letter followed by typically three digits.
AMD uses the letters A, B, and X.
- A: AMD uses A to indicate its entry-level chipsets. These chipsets are typically more budget-friendly.
- B: AMD uses B to indicate the mid-level tier. These chipsets are designed for more serious users who may need additional functionality from their computers.
- X: AMD uses X to indicate its high-performance chipsets and motherboards. These chipsets are designed for maximum functionality and versatility and tend to have a price point to match.
Intel uses the letters H, B, Z, and X.
- H: The H for Intel chipsets indicates the entry-tier and budget-friendly chipsets, and motherboard Intel offers.
- B: B for Intel, like for AMD, indicates the mainstream of mid-tier level for more serious users.
- Z: Intel differentiates between two different types of high-performance motherboard chipsets with the Z representing the standard high-performance chipset. These chipsets and motherboards offer a massive range of functionality and performance for computer enthusiasts.
- X: The X is Intel’s high-performance chipset which is compatible exclusively with their Extreme hardware.
The numeric indicators on chipsets are not as straightforward.
A good rule of thumb is that higher is better, but there are some exceptions.
One thing both Intel and AMD do adhere to in their numbering systems is the use of the first digit in the number to indicate the chipset generation.
For example, an H670 will be the sixth generation H chipset.
Do I Need To Install Motherboard Drivers? How They Aid In System Performance – Motherboard Scan. 22 Feb. 2022, https://motherboardscan.com/guide/do-i-need-to-install-motherboard-drivers/.
“Motherboard Chipset: What It Is and What to Look For.” Lifewire, https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-a-chipset-on-a-motherboard-5185658. Accessed 3 Apr. 2022.
Motherboard Chipsets – Everything You Need to Know – The Tech Lounge. 7 July 2019, https://www.thetechlounge.com/motherboard-chipset/.
“UEFI vs BIOS – What’s the Differences and Which One Is Better.” MiniTool, 28 Jan. 2019, https://www.partitionwizard.com/partitionmagic/uefi-vs-bios.html.