What are Graphics Drivers?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

In the realm of computers, graphics refers to the display system of a computer. A graphics card, also known as a display adapter, video card, or graphics controller, is a card that is plugged into a computer to create the signals that are displayed on a monitor. Graphics drivers are the software that runs the graphics cards, connecting them to the operating system. They are different for each graphics card and are most often provided by the manufacturer of the graphics card. It is important to keep these drivers updated in order to have the best computer performance.

A graphics card.
A graphics card.

The usual way to update graphics drivers is to go to the manufacturer’s download site. Here one will characteristically enter information such as product type, product series, product name, operating system, and language, and most of this information can be found in the system profiler on one’s computer if one doesn’t happen to know it offhand. This information will be processed and provide a list of driver updates for download. One may also be able to find archived drivers from older cards, as well as beta versions of drivers for testing. When one locates the drivers that are appropriate for one’s system, one downloads them, uninstalls the old drivers, and installs the new drivers.

A graphics card may be used to improve gaming performance.
A graphics card may be used to improve gaming performance.

NVIDIA®, one of the most popular graphics card providers, provides an alternative method to obtain graphics drivers — a “Smart Scan“ service. The web-based service scans a user’s hardware and software to determine the appropriate graphics drivers for the computer’s particular configuration. The drivers are suggested based on information about the CPU and its speed, the operating system, the amount of RAM (Random Access Memory), the graphics and sound cards, etc. The system works with both Windows® and Mac® computers, and a variety of browsers.

One exception to the general rule that manufacturers supply the graphics drivers for each graphics card they make is Intel®. Because Intel® includes Intel® Embedded Graphics Drivers (IEGD) in Embedded Intel® Architecture-Based Chipsets, it provides updates for the drivers. They can be found either through the Intel® website or the Embedded Design Center website.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to EasyTechJunkie about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments


@Markerrag -- Why, yes. Yes there is a way around that bloatware. It is kind of technical, but could be worth it. The trick is to install the drivers themselves without all the bloatware. That requires stripping out the control suite and then installing hardware drivers manually.

There is a good chance you have done that before, but run an Internet search to find out the exact way to do that.


One annoying trend that is developing around graphics drivers is to install those things with a bunch of bloatware. I'm talking about resource hogging "control suites" that you can use to control a bunch of things about your graphics card that you don't give a hoot about.

The most annoying thing about all that bloatware is that they are yet another thing to slow down your system and drag down your graphics performance. If you get a high performance graphics card, the last thing you want is bloatware to slow the thing down.

Is there any way to get around the bloatware? I would really love to know.

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