Why do motherboard manufacturers ship out-of-date drivers?

I’ve just built myself a new HTPC to replace my aging machine in the lounge. It dutifully installed all the drivers from the supplied CD, after having copied them to my USB pen drive in order to load them onto my optical disc free HTPC. I also went onto the manufacturers website to make sure I got the latest network driver as I’ve had problems with network drivers in the past.

So, I went ahead and started testing my new PC with some movies I have stored on my NAS. Everything seemed fine at first, but then a few minutes into my test movie I started getting choppy video. So, I did the usual thing of trying out a few different CODECs, but they all suffered from the same problem to varying degrees.

As a last resort I copied my test file onto the local hard drive of the PC and tried again. Eureka!

I couldn’t believe I was getting the same problem despite having updated my network driver. So, off to the realtek site I went and downloaded the driver for my network chip from there.

Here are the details of the “latest” driver on the asrock site …

Driver Date = 23/06/2010
Driver Version = 7.23.623.2010

Here are the details of the latest driver from the realtek site …

Driver Date = 26/12/2012
Driver Version = 7.67.1226.2012

What I don’t understand is that the motherboard this driver came with is just over 2.5 years out of date and from what I’ve read somewhere (but cannot find again) also predates the release date of the CPU the motherboard is built around, although I may be wrong on that last count. (Update: Wikipedia article stating E350 APU release date of 4th of January 2011)

The motherboard is an Asrock E350M1 which has an AMD Zacate E350 CPU. It has a realtek RTL8111E network chip installed.

The PC has been playing video content solidly for the last 6 hours without any problems. There is still the odd dropped frame, but I can live with that.

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