Motherboard Drivers: What They Are and How to Identify Them

They help your system run at peak performance with all its features

Motherboard drivers, sometimes referred to as chipset drivers, are the software interface between the motherboard—the main circuit board that all of your components plug into—and the operating system and other applications. They make it possible for the entire system to work as intended, and without them, you would miss out on key features and performance at best, and have a barely functioning system at worst.

Modern operating systems like Windows 10 include a number of basic motherboard drivers to help get the system up and running with bare-bones functionality. However, your motherboard manufacturer will also have its own chipset drivers that need to be installed to realize the full potential of your motherboard and help other connected components work correctly.

This can be especially important with high-end motherboards, or those at the cutting edge of feature and component development, as it's possible Windows hasn’t been updated to include the drivers those motherboards require to work correctly.

Motherboard manufacturers also periodically release updates to their motherboard drivers to improve performance, system stability, add compatibility for newer hardware or components or add features that weren’t available at launch. It can be beneficial to update your motherboard drivers periodically to take full advantage of these advances.

What Are Motherboard Drivers Called?

Motherboard drivers are also sometimes called system drivers or chipset drivers, but they’re all the same thing. The specific file name for individual drivers will differ depending on the manufacturer, model they're designed for, and the version number of that particular driver.

How Do I Check My Motherboard Drivers?

If you have an Intel-based laptop or desktop, you can find your motherboard driver version by following these steps:

  1. Search for Device Manager in Windows search and select the corresponding entry.

  2. Open System Devices, then right-click, or tap and hold on Intel Management Engine Interface and select Properties.

  3. Look in the Driver tab. The Driver Date and Driver Version will tell you which drivers you have installed.

AMD-based PCs and laptops don’t make it quite so easy to check your motherboard drivers. The easiest way is to simply try to update them by downloading the latest version from the manufacturer's website or using AMD’s auto-detect and update tool.

What Drivers Does My Motherboard Need?

Alongside the base Windows drivers, all motherboards have their own specific motherboard drivers. These are based on the model of the chipset that your motherboard is built with, such as X470 and B550 for AMD PCs, or B460 and Z590, for Intel PCs. Your motherboard manufacturer will also have individual drivers for specific motherboard models, due to differences in performance, components, and features.

The right motherboard drivers for you are the ones that were specifically designed for your motherboard.

The best drivers for most motherboards are also the latest ones, so if you think you haven’t updated your drivers in a while, it might be a good idea to update to the latest ones. It can sometimes improve performance and stability, or even add features or support for components that weren’t available before.

Are Motherboard Drivers Necessary?

They aren’t as necessary as they once were before Windows came pre-installed with most of the bare-bones drivers to get a motherboard and its connected components up and running. However, installing the latest motherboard drivers can improve performance and system stability, as well as make sure you have access to all the latest features and component support.

  • How do I update motherboard drivers?

    If you think your motherboard drivers need to be updated, your best bet is to visit your motherboard manufacturer's website and search for your exact motherboard model. Then, go to your motherboard model's driver download page and download the latest drivers. Be sure to download drivers that are compatible with the Windows version you're running. Once they're downloaded to your Windows PC, open them and follow the prompts to install them.

  • Can you install motherboard drivers using a USB drive?

    Yes. You'll need to download the drivers from the manufacture's website onto your USB drive, then plug in your USB drive and move the drivers to your PC. Once on your PC, open them and follow the prompts to install them.

  • How do you uninstall old motherboard drivers?

    There's no real need to uninstall drivers your PC no longer uses, but if you're a DIYer, you can go to the Device Manager, select each driver, and then select Uninstall.

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