What are Motherboard Drivers?

July 27th, 2009

A motherboard, also known as a main board or a system board, is the main circuit board within any PC. It is, in fact, the central focus of the whole computer, with various components and devices connected to it.
The motherboard holds the PC’s central processing unit (CPU) and memory, with the system’s BIOS (Basic Input/Output System), which is needed to boot the system, being stored in ROM (Read Only Memory) on the motherboard. All motherboards are designed to support a certain size of RAM (Random Access Memory), which is the computer’s main memory, and cannot be expanded beyond this level. Other limitations are that motherboards will only support a specific make of CPU, generally Intel or AMD, and have varying sizes (or form factors) so that they may not fit into some cases.

Each motherboard will have a number of expansion slots into which various sound cards, network cards and so on are connected. All will also have several sockets, such as USB and Firewire sockets, so that various devices can be connected. Communication between the computer and the connected devices is via a chipset, which is part of the motherboard and supports the processor as well as controlling the system.

A motherboard is, therefore, largely a collection of devices or has devices connected to it. The operating system needs to communicate with these devices but there are so many of them, with varying characteristics, that it cannot do so directly. Instead, each device has a device driver or PC driver that is designed specifically for it and handles the communication between the operating system and the device. The motherboard has its own set of motherboard drivers that have the same function as device drivers but are designed specifically for the motherboard’s components, in particular the chipset.

Why You Need to Update Motherboard Drivers?

The motherboard is at the heart of your PC and its efficient operation is crucial to the smooth running of your computer. If a motherboard driver is out-of-date, incorrectly installed or becomes corrupt, you may experience errors or notice a significant drop in your machine’s performance. One way to avoid this happening is to periodically update your motherboard drivers so you know you have the latest version installed. This will generally fix known bugs, improve performance and enhance your system’s security.

To install a new motherboard driver, access the Device Manager. Depending on the operating system you use, this may be available from the Control Panel or by right-clicking My Computer then choosing Manage. The Device Manager will list the types of device in the right pane and you need to select the various motherboard components, including those marked as controllers. If you’re unsure which you need to select, there’s no harm in updating everything since having up-to-date drivers is no bad thing. Right click each device, select Properties and then the Driver tab, then click the Update Driver button to download drivers and install the latest version on your PC. When you complete the process for all drivers, restart your computer.

One aspect of the motherboard setup you may be tempted to change is the BIOS settings. However, since the BIOS is needed for system startup, you should do this only if absolutely necessary and with great care. Incorrect BIOS settings may make your system unusable. Therefore, if you absolutely have to update the BIOS, be very sure what you are doing and check every action.

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Entry Filed under: Device Drivers

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