Driver disks of some sort have been part of a PC enthusiast's life as far back as I can remember. Before Windows included drivers, they all came from media included with the motherboard. I first recall them on floppies then once optical media took hold, moved to CDs. As the number of drivers and included software increased in both quantity and size, it outgrew the capacity of CDs and board partners moved to DVDs offering more capacity and faster read speeds. For example, a board partner's driver disk from a Z370 based board weighs in at 6.57GB on the disk, far eclipsing the capacity of a CD (~700MB) and that of a single-sided DVD (4.7 GB).

To that end, yesterday on Twitter, EVGA’s Global Product Management Director Jacob Freeman announced that in the future, EVGA motherboards will not come with driver disks, but USB Flash which contains all the needed drivers and software. This includes H370 based boards now and others moving forward. Instead of a DVD we are used to seeing, EVGA will include a small 8GB USB flash drive with the EVGA logo printed on it instead. While this isn’t a first (a high-end Asus board in the past included one), it certainly is welcome, if only for the quick installation from USB versus CD/DVD installs. The drive is also re-writeable so it can be used for other purposes as well. 

 

Overall, it is good to see EVGA embrace what we feel is the modern, and faster, medium for base driver and software installations, and hope other board partners follow suit. I do wonder a bit about the cost, but even if it adds $1 more, it is worth it (to me). No more whirring from the optical drive to install drivers with H370 and future EVGA motherboards. It’s about time!

Editor's Note: EVGA has confirmed the drive is USB 2.0 based and costs about twenty times more than an optical disk would. Thankfully, EVGA says that significant cost increase will not trickle down to the consumer, which we all appreciate. 

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  • dgingeri - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    This should have happened a long time ago Reply
  • The Chill Blueberry - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    True, every board has had a usb port right on it since forever. Why would you need to have a bulky unnecessary CD player? The interface is literally bundle with the product, and yet they choose an other one? Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    Because they can press a DVD for pennies while even a cheap crappy USB drive is going to cost a buck or so. Meanwhile 99% of the time people will be downloading newer drivers from the net anyway.

    It's probably been at least a decade since I used a driver disk for anything other than a coaster, and I have optical drives available.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    Or better: just let Win 10 do its thing and download the current driver in the background. I guess most people don't even know which motherboard devices they have drivers for - and that's a good thing.

    BTW: don't try this with XP. It won't have network drivers to download them and it won't have USB drivers to use that stick.

    BTW2: what's the data retention time on that stick? Usual consumer hardware has just 1 year, so pretty bad for archiving. And indeed, the music USB sticks in my car face some elevated temperatures during summer and start to have data corruption after ~1 year.
    Reply
  • Bp_968 - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    You must be buying some really cheap low end USB drives, or something else weird is going on. I have 4-5 CF cards in my Infiniti that still work fine and have been in there for 6 years or more now.

    That said, i agree with the gist of your comment. No one should use USB drives for long term storage of irreplaceable data.
    Reply
  • Samus - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    True, quality is key. I'm sure these drives from EVGA are pretty low quality. But it will get the job done.

    As far as memory cards, I have to replace them in my dashcam every year or two. The rewrite cycles burn them out, even the high endurance ones from Sandisk and Samsung don't last more than 10k rewrites.

    But other than continuous recording, nothing would thrash a memory card like that.

    Also, in the summer, I'm sure the heat beating on the camera while they are constantly recording doesn't help the longevity either. NAND is a rough lifestyle.
    Reply
  • Solandri - Saturday, May 19, 2018 - link

    NAND works by trapping a charge inside a cell. That charge slowly leaks out over time. The newer (smaller) NAND actually has more problems, as the smaller fab process means the surface area to volume ratio is larger (there's less charge inside relative to the surface area it can leak out).

    So I'd expect old NAND drives like CF cards to retain data for a decade or more. The newer USB drives though are suspect, and may lose data after just a few years. (Basically the problem the Samsung EVO 840 ran into.) I suppose it doesn't matter so long as you can download the drivers from the company's website, and the company stays in business so the website doesn't disappear.

    Heat shouldn't be a problem. It's not uncommon for SSDs to surpass 100C during operation. A hot car is a refrigerator by comparison. Warping of the plastic case would be a bigger issue.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hhdWwvh5kI
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, May 20, 2018 - link

    Ambient temp affects operating temp. For example, dashboard temps on a hot summer day when you first fire it up and the camera starts running, before the A/C has a chance to knock the temp down.

    Anyway, the "doesn't matter since you can download" argument is really an argument for including no media at all. Why bother? I never install anything from disc. I haven't in years. Why would I install outdated drivers which they try to bundle with other bloatware? Stick a dollar bill in the box for me instead. Or 6 yuan, whatever.

    Heck for the average user Windows Update will install WHQL drivers and that's enough. Still probably newer than whatever they tossed in the box.
    Reply
  • rocky12345 - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    Actually you are right most of the time Windows 10 the newer versions will load the drivers after the first boot for the ones it does not have in the ISO installer image. I just loaded 2 machines and within 10 minutes it had all drivers loaded and everything was up and running. The only thing I did was update the graphics drivers and Audio drivers. Reply
  • rocky12345 - Friday, May 18, 2018 - link

    My USB stick in my car has been in there for 2 years throughout summer and winter as well (Canada winter) and so far it has been working fine and it was a very cheap 32GB stick from The Source store (Radio Shack in the USA) I think I paid $9 for it...:) Reply

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