Building a brand new PC can be an exciting process. Getting new parts in the mail, putting it all together, it can all be a lot of fun. However, one part that lots of us get stuck on are the drivers. What drivers does a new PC build even need? Which ones are the most important? When should it be done?
All are important questions and they’re all going to get answers in this post. If you feel something has been overlooked, let us know in the comment section!
What drivers do you need?
First and foremost, let’s take a look at which drivers you’re going to need for your new PC build.
If you’re running Windows 10, chances are someone has told you that it’ll automatically download your drivers for you. Although that’s true to an extent, it’s not exactly the case for all parts. Windows 10 comes packaged with a ton of drivers to make sure a new PC works enough to boot and work with basic functionality. However, those drivers usually aren’t ideal when it comes to high-end motherboards or discrete graphics cards.
With that in mind, these are the drivers you’ll want to seek out and install:
GPU drivers: Graphics card drivers are easily the most important, especially if you’re building a gaming PC. Without updating your GPU drivers, your graphics card won’t function correctly and you’ll get terrible performance. Since that’s not ideal, let’s avoid it by making GPU drivers the very first thing to get updated.
To find the newest GPU drivers, simply head over to either AMD’s or Nvidia’s driver download pages (depending on who makes your card) and input the required information. From there all you have to do is download and then install the most recent drivers. You’ll want to check back periodically and download new revisions when they become available. Alternatively, both AMD and Nvidia offer programs that will notify you of driver updates as well as download and install them for you.
Motherboard drivers: Your mobo drivers are where Windows 10 really excels when it comes to prepackaged drivers. But, chances are your motherboard’s manufacturer has put out newer and probably better drivers than what Windows gave you. Based on that, it’s always good to head over to your motherboard manufacturer’s website and download the newest LAN, USB, SATA, audio, and chipset drivers at least.
Here are the driver download pages for:
Beyond the basic drivers, you might also want to consider flashing (updating) your BIOS to the newest revision. Often, motherboards are patched to offer higher system stability, support for more hardware, and potential fixes for hardware-related issues.
Peripherals: If any of your additional hardware has RGB to control, macros to set, or sensors to adjust, then you probably have more drivers (more like software) to install. So, your RGB keyboard and mouse will probably require additional software before you can customize them. Similarly, custom RGB lighting will often require software as well.
When should drivers be updated?
You should be updating your drivers as soon as you’re finished building your PC and installing your operating system. It’s easy to get excited and want to jump right into some gaming, but if you do that before updating at least your GPU drivers you’re not going to have a great experience.
Overlooking the importance of updated drivers can cause serious headaches. Not only will your PC refuse to perform the way it should, but you might start troubleshooting for problems that don’t exist. A lot of people have thought that their graphics card was malfunctioning just because they didn’t update their drivers. The performance will often be significantly lower than seen in benchmarks and, understandably, it can seem like your card is bad.
Now you know what drivers your new PC build needs and which ones are the most important. If you’re building a gaming PC, always make sure to update your GPU drivers first; before you even install Steam you should be looking for your new GPU drivers.