How to Update GPU Driver in Windows 11 (AMD & NVIDIA)

Robert_Stark
edited November 2023 in PC Tech

Ever dive into a high-res game only to find the graphics glitching? The culprit might be outdated graphics drivers, which draw every pixel on your screen. They shape the visuals in gaming, streaming, or browsing. Want a performance boost? Updating your drivers on your Acer device is the first step.

Be it AMD or NVIDIA, a simple driver update can render images smoothly and reduce lag. Ready to upgrade your visual game? Let's walk through how to update your graphics drivers on Windows 11.

What is a graphics driver? 

Your graphic driver is software that allows your computer to communicate with its graphics card (GPU or graphics processing unit). It translates digital code (zeros and ones) into images, graphics, and videos. Known by a few names—display or video drivers—they send instructions to your graphics card to render images on your screen. 

Your graphics card (or GPU, the graphics processing unit) and your graphics driver form a dynamic duo to ensure your visuals are crisp and clear. Regular updates from your graphic card manufacturer are critical for optimal performance.

Why update your graphics driver?

An updated graphics driver can boost your system's performance and visual output. Linus Tech Tips tested an older NVIDIA GTX 480 across four games, using five different driver versions spanning the past four years.

Their findings? Some games experienced a 10% performance boost, while The Witcher 3 saw a massive 30% increase after a few years. That's a significant uplift, demonstrating the power of updating your drivers.

Here's a breakdown of the benefits that come with updating your graphics driver: 

  • Resolve graphics-related issues: Updating the video card drivers can be a one-stop solution for numerous video or graphics-related problems, including flickering, choppy video, fuzzy or blurry images, and low gaming graphics performance. 
  • Boost performance: Speed up your PC and enjoy smoother gameplay and faster frame rates. 
  • Enhance display quality: Revel in sharper, precise, and vibrant visuals with higher-resolution graphics. 
  • Optimize gaming experience: Benefit from driver optimizations for the latest games. 
  • Fix compatibility issues: Resolve conflicts between your GPU and new games or apps, including jittery in-game videos. 
  • Unlock new features: Access new graphics settings, technologies, and GPU features.

The bottom line? Keeping your graphics driver updated is an easy yet effective way to enhance your digital interactions, whether gaming, streaming, or casual browsing.

How to update graphics drivers in Windows 11 

Ensuring up-to-date graphics drivers is essential for snappy performance and crystal-clear visuals. But it's equally important to update them safely. Here are your go-to methods:

  • Windows update. 
  • Manual update via device manager. 
  • Device manufacturer's website or software.

Each method has its merits. Let's delve into the details.

Safety first with driver updates 

Before plunging into driver updates, create a system restore point. It's like a time machine, taking a snapshot of your system's current state so you can rewind the clock if an update causes issues. System Restore won't touch your personal files but will undo recent system changes like driver updates. It's a smart move before you hit the update button.

1. Update your graphics driver using Windows Update on Windows 11 

Windows Update is your easiest bet, ensuring that you get WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) certified drivers, which means they're stable and good to go.

Here's how to get your drivers updated using Windows Update:

  1. Open Windows Start and click Settings
  2. Select Windows Update
  3. Click Check for updates. Any available updates, including those for your graphics driver, will be downloaded and installed automatically.

This method is hassle-free and recommended for most users. Yet, if you're chasing the latest driver or Windows Update doesn't have the one you need, it's time to shift gears.

2. Identify your graphics driver 

Long time since your last driver update? Hardware makers are constantly tuning their drivers for peak performance. You're likely due for a fresh update.

The update process is similar whatever the driver: graphics, monitor, or audio. To kick things off, identify your graphics driver - knowing the manufacturer and its model is critical. The two major GPU makers are NVIDIA and AMD. Let's find out which version you're rocking.

How to identify your display adapter or graphics card 

Before diving into the update process, knowing exactly which graphics driver version your device is currently running is crucial as it helps: 

  • Determine whether an update is needed. 
  • Find the right driver.

Here's how to identify your graphics driver:

  1. Open Device Manager: Click the Start button, type Device Manager, and hit Enter. Alternatively, right-click the Start button and select Device Manager from the menu. 
  2. Find your GPU or Display Adapter: Expand the Display adapters section. Your graphics card name will be listed here. 
  3. Check Model and Version: Right-click on the graphics card name and choose Properties. Navigate to the Driver tab to note down your GPU model and version number. 
  4. Compare Versions: Check if an update is needed by comparing your model and version against the latest release on the manufacturer's website. We'll explore the update process in detail further along in the article.

Optional - The DirectX Diagnostics Tool: 

  1. Press Win+R 
  2. Type dxdiag in the input and hit Enter
  3. Under the Display tab, you'll find details about your graphics driver.

Identifying your graphics driver is the prelude to keeping your visuals sharp.

How to check if GPU drivers are up to date? 

After identifying your current GPU driver version, visit your GPU manufacturer's website for the latest driver release. If the version numbers align, your driver is up to date. If not, it's time to update to the newest version.

3. Updating your GPU Driver manually via Windows Device Manager 

Here's how to update your display adapter on Windows 11:

  1. Access Device Manager: Click the Start button, type Device Manager, and hit Enter
  2. Locate Display Adapter: Expand the Display adapters category to view the installed graphics card(s). 
  3. Start Update: Right-click on the graphics card you wish to update, then select Update Driver
  4. Search for Updates: Choose Search automatically for updated driver software and allow Windows to look for available updates. 
  5. Manual Update (if needed): If Windows can't find a new driver, visit the GPU manufacturer's website (NVIDIA or AMD), download the latest driver for your model, and follow the onscreen instructions to install it.

Sometimes, Windows might not find the update, so you can swing by your GPU manufacturer's website or run your GPU update software to grab the latest driver.

4. How to update NVIDIA GPU drivers 

Keeping your NVIDIA drivers updated is essential for achieving the best performance and unlocking new GPU features. There are a few different ways:

1) Manual update via NVIDIA's website 

  1. Visit the NVIDIA Driver Downloads page
  2. Select your GPU model and operating system. 
  3. Click Search. 
  4. Click Download. 
  5. Once downloaded, double-click the file and follow the onscreen instructions.

2) Install GeForce Experience 

NVIDIA GeForce Experience ensures your PC stays updated with the latest drivers for your GeForce GTX and other models by notifying you of new releases.

Here are the steps to follow to install GeForce Experience:

  1. Visit GeForce Experience and click Download Now to get the software. 
  2. Once downloaded, double-click the file to install it on your PC. Follow the onscreen instructions. 
  3. Post installation, create an account, or log in with your Facebook or Google credentials. 
  4. Once logged in, navigate to the DRIVERS tab and click CHECK FOR UPDATES at the top right corner. 
  5. Click Download to get the latest driver if updates are available. 
  6. Pick your installation preference: "Express" for a quick setup or "Custom" for a personalized one.

With GeForce Experience, keeping your NVIDIA graphics driver updated is a breeze, and your gaming environment is ever so vibrant and stable.

5. How to update AMD GPU drivers 

Updating AMD GPU drivers is a straightforward process that can be done through AMD's official website or via the AMD Radeon Settings or Radeon Software. Here's how you can go about it:

1) Manually Update via AMD Website: 

  1. Navigate to the AMD Driver and Support page
  2. You can auto-detect your GPU and find the latest drivers by downloading and installing the Auto-Detect tool. 
  3. Or, you can manually select your GPU model and operating system. 
  4. Click Submit to find the appropriate driver for your system. 
  5. Click Download next to the driver that you want to install. 
  6. Once downloaded, open the file and follow the on-screen instructions to install the driver.

2) Update via AMD Radeon Settings or Radeon Software: 

  1. Right-click on your desktop and select AMD Radeon Settings or Radeon Software from the context menu. 
  2. Navigate to the Home or System tab, depending on your version. 
  3. Click on Software Update or Check for Updates
  4. If there's an update available, click Download
  5. Follow the prompts to install the updated driver once the download is complete.

Either of these methods will ensure your AMD GPU drivers are updated, helping to maintain optimal performance and compatibility with the latest software and games.

Unlock your PC's full potential 

A simple driver update can unlock better performance. With the steps outlined in this guide, keeping your graphics drivers updated in Windows 11 is a breeze. Dive in, and let your visuals do the talking.

Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.

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