Wi-Fi module pcie. Best Laptop Wi-Fi Cards for Wi-Fi 6 and 6E Upgrade
Best Laptop Wi-Fi Cards for Wi-Fi 6 and 6E Upgrade
Whether it’s Apple, Dell, HP, Acer, or MSI, laptops provide the convenience of mobility. However, it can be frustrating when your Laptop’s Wi-Fi Card stops working, and you’re forced to use Ethernet. Fortunately, tons of Mini PCIe and M.2 Wi-Fi modules are available to replace your wireless adapter. Additionally, with the introduction of 802.11ax and Wi-Fi 6E, it may be time to upgrade your laptop’s Wi-Fi capabilities unless you’re waiting for Wi-Fi 7 cards to hit the market!
In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of today’s best wireless modules offering different features and capabilities for your laptop. We will find some of the best laptop Wi-Fi cards, including the next-gen Wi-Fi 6 and the newest 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E.
Whether you’re an expert or a novice, you will find something here that will benefit you and improve your internet speed.
With so many options available, choosing the one that would work best for your needs can be challenging. You may come across various technical terms, such as frequency bands, QAM levels, and compatibility requirements, which can be confusing.
While there are comparison tools available online, it may still take time to read through numerous reviews to find the perfect wireless module for your laptop. However, worry not! We are here to help you with a short list of the best Laptop Wi-Fi Cards.
What is Wi-Fi Card?
The Wi-Fi Card is a wireless module for laptops. It is specially designed for portable devices. You can use it to access the Internet, connect to a wireless router, or network in access. It features a built-in antenna for maximum range and can be installed on an M.2 slot.
However, for older devices, you might need a mini PCIe Wi-Fi card for Laptop. It all depends on your notebook motherboard, so be sure to check the hardware before you shop for one.
Why you need a Laptop Wi-Fi Card?
The Wi-Fi card is a critical component of any laptop, as it takes the signal transmitted from your router and transfers it to your computer. If your wireless module is broken or malfunctioning, you will not be able to get online. Some people attempt to use a USB Wi-Fi adapter instead, but this is not advisable, as USB Wi-Fi adapters are not designed to be permanent replacements. They are prone to frequent dropouts and other issues.
Why do you need to upgrade your Laptop to Wi-Fi 6?
Buying a laptop computer now seems like a straightforward affair: you go to a store, pick a system that comes with a wireless network adapter, and pay. But if you’re going to make the most of your laptop, you need to maximize the way it uses the Internet. So make sure to get a Wi-Fi 6 card for laptop for a stronger and reliable connection.
With that said, the latest 802.11ax or 802.11axe standards offer maximum download and upload stream and overall better performance.
Since there are very few Wi-Fi 6E routers available in the market, we suggest you better off with the Wi-Fi 6 card.
Why must you need Wi-Fi on a Laptop?
Wi-Fi cards are used to connect the computer with an available wireless network. The main advantage of having a wireless module is to connect your computer to a wireless network anywhere in the world. It can be very useful for someone who travels a lot or uses their mobile hotspot as an internet source.
Best Laptop Wi-Fi Cards including Wi-Fi 6 and 6E
Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650X – Best Wi-Fi 6 Card for Gaming Laptop
Gamers, here’s one for you, Killer Networking is the first company to FOCUS on Gaming Wireless Modules at least it was before Intel acquire it. This AX Wi-Fi card is built for gaming with its Advanced Stream Detect 2.0 technology. This allows the adapter to identify, sort, and prioritize gaming traffic. Meanwhile, its GameFast technology halts processes that are not related to gaming. This gives you 10 percent more CPU cycles and 20 percent of memory.
The Killer AX1650X also provides great connectivity. With a Wi-Fi 6 router, this module can get three times more throughput than earlier 80MHz 2×2 AC devices. It’s also got up to 4 times more network capacity in dense environments. This adapter also comes with Bluetooth 5.2.
Note: Killer Networking is a brand of Rivet Networks that Intel acquired in May 2020. After the acquisition, for years, Intel used to sells the Killer AX1650 and AX1650X module with a PCIe expansion card now you will find these adapters on 3rd-Party stores.
NETELY’s Intel AX200 – Best Wi-Fi 6 Adapter with 2.4 and 5GHz Band
- M.2 Slot A/E Key
- Works on Intel AMD Ryzen
- Bluetooth 5.1
- 64-bit OS – Windows, Chrome, Linux
Intel AX200 is the first Wi-Fi 6 WLAN module released in the first quarter of 2019. It runs on Windows 10 or 11, Google Chrome OS, and Linux and has a built-in Bluetooth 5.1. over, it supports both AMD Ryzen and Intel-based laptops. It is backward-compatible with 802.11ac and b/g/n as well. For heavy gaming, large file transfers, and ultra-fast streaming, this module works perfectly.
Not to mention, it’s one of the most affordable WLAN modules that comes with a reasonable price tag. If you need the best wireless card for gaming and streaming, give it a try.
Note: It requires a laptop with AMD or Intel CPU running on Windows, Google Chrome OS, and Linux.
OKN Wi-Fi 6 AX200 – Best M.2 Wi-Fi Card for most Laptops
- M.2 2230 Slot A/E Key
- Intel AMD CPU
- Bluetooth 5.1
- 64-bit OS – Windows Linux
Reliability and consistency are two qualities you’ll be happy to find in OKN’s AX200 Wi-Fi 6 adapter. According to the manufacturer, this card has “low latency” with reliable and powerful performance. It’s compatible with your existing router and offers a stable connection for online gaming, video streaming, and downloading files. Installation is also fairly easy with this card, which takes less than 15 minutes.
Overall, it is faster and much more efficient than previous versions and has a 40% power saving capacity.
Note: Bear in mind this Wi-Fi card works on a laptop with Intel or the latest AMD processor with Windows 10 or Windows 11.
ZEXMTE Wi-Fi 6 Module AX200 – Best M.2 Wireless Card for Gaming
Here’s another wireless network card with powerful performance and enhanced experience. This WLAN module offers faster performance with compatible devices with zero Wi-Fi signal dropouts and disconnections. On top of that, you can enjoy an ultra-fast wireless speed of 574Mbps (dual-Band) using a 160 MHz channel. Thus it’s a reliable choice for online gamers and HD video streaming.
The only drawback of this wireless module is it comes with Bluetooth 5.0 instead of 5.1 or 5.2, which seems to have some issues. However, we believe with the correct drivers installed; it will work without any issues.
Note: It is only compatible with 8th Gen or later Intel-based laptop running on Windows 10 or 11.
Intel Wireless-AC 9560 – Best M.2 Key E Wi-Fi Card
- M.2 CNVio Socket Key E
- Intel CPU Only
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Windows 10 or the latest Windows 11
This AC Wireless Card is cheaper than the Wi-Fi 6 cards on this list. Performance-wise, though, there isn’t that big a difference other than the OFDMA and internet connectivity range. However, compared to other 802.11ac cards, this one allows faster downloads speed and optimal performance. over, it also has the support for Bluetooth 5, which sometimes has issues but works well with compatible devices.
Thus, this dual-Band WLAN module is a bang-for-your-buck buy. It’s perfect for those who aren’t quite ready to make the switch to Next-Gen Wi-Fi 6.
Note: This module is compatible with all the popular operating systems and needs M.2 wireless card slot. Make sure you have a Key-E socket on the motherboard before you buy this adapter.
Intel Wireless-AC 9260 NGW – Cheapest Dual-Band Laptop Wi-Fi Card
- M.2 2230 Socket Key A/E
- Intel CPU 8th-Gen or later
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Windows 10 or newer
Intel Wireless-AC 9260 has a low power consumption feature (a.k.a Smart Power Optimizer) that lets you stay online for longer periods. Although this isn’t as efficient as the Wi-Fi 6, but it does offer slightly better performance. It also has minimal to no dropouts or DNS errors, even if you are several rooms away from the router. You can expect a sustained and uninterrupted wireless internet connection all the time.
Overall, Intel AC 9260 is a good option if you have a 2013 or later laptop from HP, Dell, Asus, Acer, or MSI.
Note: This Wi-Fi module is compatible with Intel PC running on Windows. As for other popular operating systems, it might not work at all.
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 – Best M.2 Wi-Fi Module for Older Laptops
- M.2 2230 Slot Key A/E
- Intel Processor Only
- Bluetooth 4.2
- 64-bit Windows 7 or later
Intel Wireless-AC 8265 is a 5th Generation 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 5 card. With its dual-Band wireless connection, It delivers a maximum speed of 867Mbps. That’s three times faster speeds than Wi-Fi 4. However, this is just a theoretical speed; in a real-life test, you’ll get max 150Mbps.
Other than that, it enables smoother video streaming, a decrease in dropouts, and fast speeds despite being far from your router. This Intel-based adapter works on Microsoft Windows only and great for folks with older laptop units.
Note: This WLAN card is compatible with Intel laptops running on 64-bit Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11.
OKN Intel AX210 – Best Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E Card for Laptop
- M.2 2230 Slot Key E/A
- Support Intel AMD CPU
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Windows 11 and Windows 10
It is too early for a Wi-Fi 6E card upgrade. However, if you are into the latest technology and want to future-proof your laptop with the Wi-Fi 6E adapter, this might be the right choice. It uses the newest AXE wireless standard, which allows you to utilize a 6GHz Band for gaming and streaming within the short range. Enjoy up to 574Mbps to 2400Mbps of speed on 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz, and 6GHz bands with 160MHz wireless channels.
The only downside is right now; there is only one Wi-Fi 6E router available. However, this tri-Band Wi-Fi card comes with backward compatibility, which allows you to use it with 802.11ax/ac/b/g/n devices but will be limited to 2.4 and 5GHz bands. You can find the detailed specs of AX210 on the Intel product page for AX210.
over, this module comes with the latest Bluetooth 5.2 version, which has a larger capacity with a high-speed transfer rate in extremely low latency.
Note: This Wi-Fi 6E card is only compatible with the latest Intel or AMD Laptops running on Windows 11. Make sure you have an M.2 Key E or A slot on your motherboard to install this wireless adapter.
Buying Guide for Laptop Wi-Fi Card
Once you have decided to buy a wireless card adapter for your laptop, you might be confused by the wide variety of hardware. It’s not easy to tell the good ones from the bad; in other words, compatible and non-compatible. Even if you know what to look for, there are quite a few things to check before you buy.
Choosing a Right Wireless Card
Before you buy any of the listed wireless adapters for your laptop, make sure it is compatible with your computer and its Operating System. To be clear, non of these Wi-Fi modules will work with MacBooks. Apple uses its proprietary AirPort card, which is the same Wi-Fi card as intel provides but only works with macOS. Now for Windows 10 based systems, most of the PC’s come with M.2 Key-E or Key-B and Mini PCIe. Depending on your hardware specification, you’ll either have to buy a Half-size PCI Express or M.2 Wi-Fi card.
Most of the Wi-Fi modules also come with Bluetooth. So, make sure you buy the latest hardware or the newest version of the 802.11ax card with BT 5.1. The older laptops might not be compatible with 802.11ax or 802.11axe wireless cards. In that case, you should go for the dual-Band 802.11ac module (a.k.a Wi-Fi 5).
Before even considering replacing your Wi-Fi card, ensure that your laptop is upgradeable in the first place. Some laptops are harder to open up and modify than others. Make sure your laptop doesn’t have a BIOS “whitelist,” either. The whitelist restricts you from replacing your WLAN card that the manufacturer doesn’t authorize. Usually, these laptops only accept the same brand of Wi-Fi adapter as your old one.
Check if your laptop is compatible with the kind of card you want to get. It can be tempting to go for the newest laptop wireless adapter — the Wi-Fi 6 card. But if you’re using an old unit, it may not accept the latest module. Usually, laptops running on 64-bit Intel processors are safe. Meanwhile, AMD systems are a little more unpredictable.
The card slot on a motherboard comes in different sizes. Make sure you have the correct measurements before making the purchase. Most network card for laptops comes in a size of 33mm long and 22mm wide. Most laptops released in recent years have that M.2 Wi-Fi card slot. So if your laptop is fairly new, you’re most likely in the clear.
Don’t make the mistake of getting a laptop Wi-Fi adapter that doesn’t come with Bluetooth. Though most M.2 Wi-Fi cards on the market usually come with Bluetooth, it doesn’t hurt to check. Bluetooth is important because it lets you connect devices like your phone or speaker without a physical connector. It’s also important to check on the version of Bluetooth found on your potential Wi-Fi card. Keep in mind that Bluetooth 5.2 is the latest version, enhancing Attribute Protocol, LE Power Control, and LE Isochronous Channels.
Software or Drivers
Make sure the driver is available for the hardware you are buying. If you are using Windows OS, it will automatically install the driver for you. However, you might need to use a disc or flash drive to install the system software in some cases.
Similarly, brands like Killer offers their custom solution to unlock extra functionalities. With Killer Control Center, you can optimize and prioritize your internet bandwidth for gaming, streaming, or web browsing. And the GameFast Technology allows you to free up your CPU and RAM by pausing background activities so that you can enjoy faster and lag-free gameplay.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a Wi-Fi 6 and a Wi-Fi 5 card?
The Wi-Fi 6 name corresponds to the 802.11ax, and the Wi-Fi 5 corresponds to the 802.11ac. There are some key differences between the two, particularly in their frequency bands, max data rate, and QAM level.
Unlike AC, the AX Wi-Fi offers 4x more connected clients, 1024-QAM, and a speed of up to 9.6 Gbps. That’s more than double the rate of AC Wi-Fi.
Can I use my Desktop PC Card for my Laptop?
No, because you won’t find a compatible slot. The PCI slots differ in size and shape in desktop computers and laptops. If you want to use a laptop Wi-Fi adapter with a desktop PC, you’ll need a mini PCI or M.2 to PCI-e card. Make sure these come with antennae too.
How do I identify my laptop’s current Wi-Fi card?
- Open up Device Manager and go to Network adapters.
- Expand the Network adapters list to view all networking devices.
- Here, you can look for your Wi-Fi card.
- Go to your Control Panel and click Network and Sharing Center.
- Go to Manage Network Connections and locate your Wi-Fi connection on the list.
- Right-click on your connection and choose status and the details.
How do I know when I need to replace my Wi-Fi Card?
There are two surefire signs that your wireless card is on the fritz and in need of replacing. First, an unstable network connection could be an indicator that there’s something wrong with your Wi-Fi card.
This is especially true if you can connect to your router easily with other devices. Next, you can look for your wireless adapter in your Device Manager. If it’s not there, it means your laptop is not reading your wireless module. This could be the result of having the wrong or corrupted driver or a defective adapter.
How to replace or upgrade Laptop Wi-Fi card?
Upgrading a laptop Wi-Fi card is pretty easy. You can hire a professional but if you want to do-it-yourself then follow the steps below:
- Remove the bottom cover and the battery: Make sure your charger isn’t plugged in before you disassemble the laptop and its battery.
- Disconnect Antennas: Disconnect the antennas from your old adapter. Usually, there are black and white antenna cables. You’ll need to remember which one goes where; otherwise, your new wireless card won’t work.
- Remove Older WLAN Card: Remove the old Wi-Fi module from its dock by using a screwdriver. Once the screws are removed, the adapter will then pop out.
- Install new Wi-Fi Module: Place the new module onto the slot by carefully aligning the contacts.
- Screw it and connect Antennas Cables: Screw it in place and reconnect the antennas. Once done, put your battery and laptop cover back.
- Install or Update Driver: If you are using Windows 10, it will automatically install or update the driver. Alternatively, you will need to download and install the driver manually.
I’ve installed a new Wi-Fi card and made sure everything is up to date. Why is my connection still so slow?
If you’re certain you’ve purchased the latest Wi-Fi card and have gone through the correct installation procedure, perhaps the problem is with your Wi-Fi router! If you’re using an old router, you’ll need to try a few easy hacks.
First, place your router in the center of your home, ensuring there aren’t many walls and doors obstructing it. Next, make sure your Wi-Fi router isn’t on the floor because routers broadcast waves slightly downwards. This helps you utilize the signal as much as possible. Third, keep the router away from other electronics that could interfere with the signal. Lastly, if your modem/router has two antennas, place one in a vertical position and another in a horizontal position. It’s easier to secure a stable connection when your device’s internal antenna is parallel to your router’s external one.
If you’ve done all these router hacks, you can also try to declutter your laptop. Delete unnecessary files and unused software that could be slowing your computer down.
Speed, reliability, and consistency — these are three qualities to look out for when buying a new Wi-Fi card for a laptop. And if that means shelling out a bit of extra cash, we’d say go for it anyway.
The Laptop Wi-Fi Cards are built to last, so it’s best to get one that will provide you stable and consistent connection for your gaming and streaming. It’ll save you time and money in the long run!
From the above-mentioned wireless modules, I would recommend the Killer AX1650 for the best wireless gaming experience. If you like to future-proof your laptop, go for the new Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E card.
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Being a tech enthusiast and a founder of LookGadgets Naveed loves to review and share his thoughts with his audience. Although he is a Certified Network Engineer. but his main interests are in the latest CPU, GPU, Monitors, Laptops, Internet Routers, and PC peripherals.
5 thoughts on “Best Laptop Wi-Fi Cards for Wi-Fi 6 and 6E Upgrade”
If you still have working (but slow) Wi-Fi, a good first step is often to download the latest driver for your NEW Wi-Fi card (while you still have internet access). Reply
This is a very informative review. I have an Intel ac 7260 in my Asus laptop, Windows 10. It keeps disconnecting. Tried all sort of trouble shooting, power management settings, wakeup settings ac/n, 2.4 and 5.8 etc. Also, tried downloading and reinstalling the Intel drivers Still it keeps disconnecting and always I need to restart the system. Sometimes troubleshooting works. Thank You Reply
I also had disconnection issues on Windows 10 64-bit on my Asus with Intel AC 7260. Swapped in a new AC 9260 and works like a charm. Reply
Hey, nice article, thanks! I am wondering what the difference is between A and E Keys. Also, I see the 8256NGW has a no connectors on the E flap of the card, the AC 9260 NGW has 1 connector and the 6E AX210, all the AX 200 and the AX1650 all have two connectors. I have a Lenovo Yoga 730-15IKB Laptop (ideapad) – Type 81CU that comes with a 8265NGW that constantly looses packets (it sucks!) and was wondering if I could replace it for an AX200 for example. Thanks again! Reply
I own an old HP laptop model 14-n218tx. that is running on Realtek RTL8188EE 802.11 bgn Wi-Fi Adapter. the network speed is horrible. I have been looking for mini PCI-E Wi-Fi card that is compatible for my laptop. hoping to upgrade it to AC or AX network if possible. Even though i found a few Wi-Fi card online that looks the same design and shape but many of the descriptions says they are not compatible with HP laptop. I do not know why and I don’t want to risk purchasing those Wi-Fi cards as i’m afraid that it will not work. is there any Wi-Fi card that u can recommend to me based on my laptop model ? Reply
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Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card
As with most technology, Wi-Fi is constantly changing and improving—new protocols, new methods to enhance coverage, faster speeds, better reliability. 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) is currently the most common solution, but 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) is the latest protocol and will eventually be the new standard.
Whether you stick with the current proven technology or opt to go with the future of Wi-Fi, there are some excellent PCIe cards to choose from, and it can be hard to sort through all of them. But we’re here to help!
Here is a quick summary of the best PCIe Wi-Fi cards for your desktop computer.
If you’re looking for the most reliable and best performance out of your PCIe Wi-Fi card, look no further than the Asus PCE-AC88 AC3100, it’s our Best Overall pick. It will ensure that you get a strong, ultra-swift connection to almost any wireless network.
If you want to try the latest wireless technology, check out the TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000, the Best Wi-Fi 6 adapter. Wi-Fi 6 is the newest protocol, so you will need a Wi-Fi 6 router to actually take advantage of it. If you like to stay on top of technology, and you’re set up for Wi-Fi 6, this may be the direction you want to go.
Finally, if you’re on a budget, the TP-Link AC1200 is our high-quality selection. It’s a solid PCIe adapter that won’t put a strain on your book.
In this guide, we’ll also cover some alternatives to our top picks, giving you a broad selection of Wi-Fi cards that will speed up your internet and make your computing life easier.
Why Trust Me for This Guide?
Hi, my name is Eric. I love to write about technology. I’ve also been a software engineer for over 20 years and was an electrical engineer before that. Over time, I‘ve put together many computer systems, sometimes from the ground up. In fact, when I was in college, I built desktop PCs for the clients of a small computer company.
Technology has changed immensely over the years; I know that it can be hard to keep up with. If you rely on a computer for work or just use one for gaming or other hobbies, I understand the need to ensure your tech is up to speed. I study it; I implement it; I’m here to help.
It’s no fun trying to use an older, slower system with newer, task-intensive software. It can make you want to throw your computer out the window. I’m a big fan of upgrading hardware or building a new system altogether when possible. If you’re going to do that, you might as well do it right with top-of-the-line equipment.
The Importance of Wi-Fi Cards
Why are Wi-Fi cards important?
It wasn’t that long ago that almost all of our software, applications, and games came on a disk that we installed locally on our computer. Yes, some applications needed network or internet access, but for the most part, things ran directly on our desktop systems.
That is no longer the case. While we still install many applications locally, most software installations take place over an internet connection. In fact, most apps that we now install on our machines are downloaded over the internet.
Can you remember the last time you installed a new application from a CD or DVD? If you do, chances are it was not the latest version. Software updates are made so rapidly in today’s environment that it’s hard to keep up. Have you ever checked for updates on your iPhone and felt like you never run out of apps that need updating? That’s true in the desktop computer world as well. Most apps nowadays, even after you install them from a DVD, probably have to be updated to a later version immediately after installation—and that’s done over the world wide web.
That point is that we’re completely reliant on having a network or internet connection now. We depend on it for our daily lives, whether for work or play.
What does that mean to you? It means your computer’s wireless network card has now become one of its most vital pieces of hardware. Whether you’re building a PC or upgrading it, you need to make sure your network card is reliable and quick.
Who Should Get a New PCIe Card?
If you’re a desktop computer user, there’s a good chance that you connect to your network via a network cable. That makes sense: you usually get the best speed with a wired connection. Even though an ethernet cable is hard to beat when it comes to speed, Wi-Fi technology is getting faster all the time. It’ll be a long time before Wi-Fi keeps pace with the speed of a wired connection. For the most part, though, it’s Rapid enough to perform all our everyday tasks such as file transfers, video chats, and even high-end gaming.
Sometimes your desktop computer is located in a spot where no wired network connection is available. It might be inconvenient to run a cable to the computer. When that’s the case, Wi-Fi is your only option; you need to get a PCIe Wi-Fi card.
A quality PCIe card will also provide the flexibility to switch to wireless if your network cable has problems. Cables can get cut or worn out and stop working, so having the Wi-Fi option is always a sensible solution.
There is also the possibility that your desktop is not stationary. I know plenty of people who regularly move their desktop PC around to different locations. It may seem complicated and unnecessary, but it only involves moving the computer and accessories— a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. Some even have multiple monitors and keyboards set up in different locations. Then they move the CPU around between them. In these cases, it pays to have a Wi-Fi card so they don’t have to worry about cabling.
Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card: The Winners
Best Overall: Asus PCE-AC88 AC3100
If you’re looking to ensure that your desktop computer has the best Wi-Fi card available, the Asus PCE-AC88 AC3100 is our top pick. You’ll have to shell out some extra cash for this one, but it is definitely worth the money.
- Aside from having the top speed in its class, this Asus uses 802.11ac technology, which is still the most tested, most compatible, and most used protocol around. It also has incredible range, Asus quality and reliability, and lots of other features to go with it. Let’s take a look.
- 802.11ac wireless protocol
- Dual-Band supports both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands
- Its NitroQAM™ provides speeds of up to 2100Mbps on the 5GHz Band and 1000Mbps on the 2.4GHz Band
- The first-ever 4 x 4 MU-MIMO adapter provides 4 transmit and 4 receive antennas to deliver speed and incredible range
- Customized heat sink keeps it cool for stability and reliability
- A magnetized antenna base with extension cable gives you the flexibility to place your antenna in an optimal location for the strongest possible reception
- Individual antennas can attach directly to the PCIe card if a more compact setup is desired
- R-SMA antenna connectors provide the option to connect aftermarket antennas
- AiRadar beamforming support gives you better signal strength at farther distances
- Support for Windows 7 and Windows 10
- Stream video or play online games with
- no interruption
This dual-Band adapter is one of the fastest you will find with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). It provides top speeds on both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. The card’s 4 x 4 MU-MIMO technology contributes some of the best range you will find in a WLAN card. It’ll be just what you need for those areas of your home or office that have weak signals.
AiRadar Beamforming technology also increases range, providing a steady connection. That means your internet won’t drop when you’re in the middle of a video call or playing your favorite online game. Its detachable antenna connectors even let you use a more powerful aftermarket antenna if you wish.
This card has it all. If you use one to build your new PC or upgrade your older computer, you shouldn’t have any connection problems. It will provide the speed, range, and reliability to perform any network functions you can think of.
Best Wi-Fi 6: TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000
If you’re looking to the future of Wi-Fi and want to see what it has to offer, then check out a Wi-Fi 6 adapter. Our top pick for Wi-Fi 6 is the TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000, also known as the Archer TX3000E. It’s a high-performance card from a well-known manufacturer; it’s a perfect place to start with Wi-Fi 6. This card can reach speeds of up to 2.4Gbps and includes other built-in features such as Bluetooth 5.0.
- The latest Wi-Fi 6 standard 802.11ax protocol
- Dual-Band supports both 5GHz and 2.4GHz
- Speeds of 2402 Gbs on 5GHz Band and 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz Band
- OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology provide a fast, uninterrupted connection
- Two multi-directional antennas strengthen your reception capability
- A magnetized antenna stand allows you many options for placement
- Bluetooth 5 gives you twice the speed and 4 times the coverage of Bluetooth 4
- The card and driver can be installed from a CD or download from the internet
- 1024-QAM modulation
- 160 MHz bandwidth
- Backward compatible with older Wi-Fi networks
- Supports Windows 10 (64-bit) only
- Advanced WPA 3 Encryption
This Wi-Fi 6 adapter has super speed, insanely low latency, and a consistent connection. You can expect high performance even on the busiest of networks.
One thing to think about with this unit: you may not find many networks using Wi-Fi 6 yet, so it may be difficult to take full advantage of it. There are many Wi-Fi 6 routers available, too. You may consider purchasing one to set up your own Wi-Fi 6 network to enjoy this speedy data transmission technology.
Wi-Fi 6 is new and unproven. It might be another reason you may be hesitant to go with this type of card. But if you’re willing to set up a new network and possibly work through a few issues, it might be worth it.
Best Budget: TP-Link AC1200
Let’s face it: we don’t always have an open-ended budget; we can’t always spend top dollar on our equipment. Whether it’s your personal budget or constraints put on you by your company, there’s that balance: you need the best product at the best price available. If this is your situation, don’t worry. The TP-Link AC1200, also known as the Archer T5E, is a perfect solution. It’s an excellent piece of hardware that performs well and won’t break the bank.
- Dual-Band allows you to use both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands
- Speeds up to 867Mbs on the 5GHz Band and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz Band
- Two high gain external antennas give you excellent range
- Provides Bluetooth 4.2
- A low profile bracket and card make installation easy
- Supports Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7 (32 and 64 bit)
- WPA/WPA2 encryption standards
- Superb for online gaming, video streaming, and fast data transfer speeds
- Plug and play installation
- Affordable price
The TP-Link AC1200 is a wonderful choice for anyone who wants to upgrade their old network card or build a new system. It provides swift data speeds, a stable connection, and extensive range. You get all the basics with this one, and even some bonuses, like a BlueTooth 4.2 interface.
This card comes with two install brackets—one standard size and one low-profile mini bracket to fit different computer cases. If you have the latest version of Windows 10, installation is easy. Just plug the card in a PCIe slot, put your computer back together, and start Windows 10. The appropriate drivers will install automatically, and you will be off and running.
While this card comes in at a price significantly lower than our top pick, don’t let that price fool you. The TP-Link AC1200 is a quality adapter that will provide enough speed for 4K HD video streaming and data-intensive online games. It’s an easy choice for anyone wanting a quick upgrade to their Wi-Fi and BlueTooth at the same time.
Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card: The Competition
We selected three PCIe cards as our top picks, but that doesn’t mean there’s no competition. If the devices we picked don’t work for you, check out some of these alternatives.
If you aren’t able or willing to shell out the cash for our top pick, you can still get this product from Asus at a slightly lower cost—the Asus PCE-AC68. While it may not have its bigger brother’s blazing speed, this option is still almost hypersonic.
Take a closer look at some of the features of the PCE-AC68.
- Dual-Band gives you both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands
- 1.3Gbps on the 5GHz Band and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz Band
- Broadcom TurboQAM helps to provide some of the fastest speeds in its class
- Designed to enable service prioritization to data, which means your data transfers will perform with lightning speed
- Supports Windows and Mac
- Gets rid of dead zones and provides 150% better coverage than the average card
- The custom heat sink keeps operating temperature low and hardware stable
- Separate cable and antenna allow you to place the antenna in the best spot for reception
This card almost does it all. It’s got power, speed, range, reliability, and uses some of the latest technology. The Asus PCE-AC68’s antennas, along with the cable and stand, can be placed in an optimal spot to ensure you get a reliable signal. The signature Asus heat sink keeps the device cool at all times, guaranteeing that it performs at top levels without overheating.
This device is a close competitor to our top pick. It didn’t hit the top spot because it doesn’t quite have the speed or technology as the AC3100. However, this card has the same quality and performance typically seen from Asus products.
If you’re still looking for Wi-Fi 6 technology, the Gigabyte GC-Wbax200 is another card you might want to evaluate. It’s a speedy dual-Band card with a cool-looking antenna that will let you experience the latest in wireless protocol. Like our best Wi-Fi 6 pick, you will also get a BlueTooth 5 interface, ensuring that you have the latest in both transmission types.
- Dual-Band provides both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
- 802.11ax protocol
- Backward-compatible with older wireless networks
- MU-MIMO technology provides efficient transmission speeds
- Bluetooth 5.0 gives you the latest Bluetooth protocol
- AORUS high-performance 2 transmit/2 receive antenna increases range and reliability
- A Smart antenna with multiple angle tilt and a magnetic base that allows you to place the antenna in a variety of spots
The wbax200 is super-speedy and uses some of the most current wireless technology available. It’s almost as fast as our top Wi-Fi 6 pick and has superior coverage due to its high-performance antenna. While it’s made by one of the leading manufacturers like Asus, TP-Link, or Archer, it’s still a quality piece of hardware.
Again, you will need to remember that Wi-Fi 6 technology has not been thoroughly tested; using it still comes with some risks and issues. You will see some performance advantages on most networks—but you’ll see the most gains when you’re on a Wi-Fi 6 network.
The Fenvi AC 9260 is a fast card, but it’s also available at a reasonable price. It’s much speedier than our best budget pick and will provide data speeds that will help you perform like a champ. Interestingly, it has a red heat sink, providing a look similar to an Asus card. Let’s see what the AC 9260 has to offer.
- Dual-Band 5GHz and 2.4GHz
- 802.11ac protocol
- Speeds of up to 1733Mbps on 5GHz and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz Band
- MU-MIMO technology
- Bluetooth 5.0 interface
- The folding antenna can be placed on your desktop
- Support for Windows 10 64 bit
The AC 9260 is a perfect option for those who want a hot rod product without spending a ton of money. It only supports Windows 10, and it doesn’t have the brand name backing like our top budget choice. But it’s a reliable solution for those who need a budget-priced, bullet-train-quick PCIe Wi-Fi card.
Its included Bluetooth 5 is a coveted additional feature for a card at this price. The AC 9260’s unique, folding desktop antenna is a super-cool accessory. MU-MIMO helps to provide speedy data transmission and adequate range. This is a nice little card for the price.
If you need a budget pick from a well-known brand name, the TP-Link AC1300 is another excellent option from TP-Link. It has a price that will fit into most budgets and the reliability you expect from this manufacturer. It is also known as the Archer T6E and provides terrific speed for an 802.11ac adapter.
- Dual-Band capability provides 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
- 802.11ac protocol
- Get speeds of 867Mbps on the 5GHz Band and 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz Band
- Advanced external antennas provide superior coverage
- High-performance heat sink keeps your hardware cool
- Easy setup
- WPA/WPA2 encryption
- Low profile bracket
This budget pick is a dependable choice for just about any system. While it’s slightly quicker than our top budget pick, it doesn’t include any extra features like Bluetooth. It’s a simple, dependable performer that does what it is intended to do. It provides ample speed and awesome coverage due to the included high-tech antennas.
The heat sink design keeps the device cool to ensure reliability and performance. Dependable security and easy installation make this a real competitor with our other low-priced picks. Finally, it’s all packaged by a trusted company with a proven record in the wireless transmission arena.
How We Pick PCIe Wi-Fi Card
There are tons of PCIe cards out there. How did we choose our favorites? Here are some of the key things we focused on when looking for top-performing PCIe Wi-Fi cards.
You might be tempted to first look at the device’s speed. While this is an essential feature, having the latest and greatest technology is the foremost thing to look for. If you have the best tech, then speed and range are likely to follow.
What do we mean by the latest technology? You want a device that at least uses 802.11ac wireless protocol. This will ensure your card will be compatible with most networks. It’s also the latest and the most commonly used technology today. There’s a new protocol coming: while 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6 is now available, networks that use them are uncommon as of this writing. Additionally, since Wi-Fi 6 has not yet been as thoroughly tested and used as 802.11ac, users may find it less stable. In short, that means what you want is 802.11ac.
Other technologies, such as OFDMA, Beamforming, and MU-MIMO help cards have increased speed, range, and reliability. If you want the best PCIe card, consider these additional features as well.
Speed is vital. You want to be able to transmit data as quickly as possible. You want no lag while watching videos or playing online games. You want no stress when live streaming or downloading large mission-critical files. You want the internet to move faster than you can think. The PCIe Wi-Fi adapter cards we chose are some of the fastest available.
Don’t underestimate the importance of range. If you aren’t able to have your computer in the same room as the router, you may only have a weak signal to work with. That means frustration and spotty internet. A card with superior range allows you to connect to the internet in tough spots like a basement, a room on the other side of your house or office, etc.
You have probably heard the term dual-Band Wi-Fi. Why is it important? Dual-Band gives you the option to connect on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz Band. Both bands have strengths and weaknesses—the 5GHz Band has the fastest speeds, while the 2.4GHz Band provides better signal strength at greater distances. Having the option to access either of them is a real plus; it gives you a lot more flexibility.
Of course, you will want a card that works. It should provide you with a solid network connection; the card shouldn’t fail after a couple of months. You will also want one that gets a constant signal and doesn’t drop. There’s nothing worse than being on a video conference call and losing your internet! A reliable card provides a reliable connection.
You’ll have to take the cover off of your computer to install a PCIe Wi-Fi card. It’s not that tough with a desktop computer, especially if you’ve done it in the past. You’ll need to ensure you have an open PCIe slot on your PC. You might also consider the installation software that comes with the device: most cards will need drivers and possibly other software installed. Plug and play or easy installation is always a plus.
You don’t find a whole lot of accessories for WLAN cards. However, there are a few, such as antennas and cables that extend your antenna away from your desktop. Some cards also have other interfaces such as BlueTooth and/or USB included.
You need to find out what type of security and encryption the device provides. Most are compatible with WPA/WPA2, and some even with some recent WPA3 standards. This is something to consider to ensure your card works with the networks you will be connecting to. Newer cards should be fine with most systems.
The cost of the PCIe card is another thing to consider. You’ll pay quite a bit more money for a top performer. There are many midrange and lower-cost cards available—just remember that you often get what you pay for. You might also notice that many of the new technology Wi-Fi 6 cards are reasonably priced. This is because the new technology is not widely used yet, and there is not a high demand for them.
Many of us who still own and use desktops feel like we’re slowly becoming a minority. For most people, it seems like laptops get the job done. Yes, they’re portable, more convenient to use, and take up so much less space in our home and office. They’re easy to plug into a monitor and keyboard, transforming into a desktop. It’s easy to see why they’re so popular.
But desktop computers still have some significant advantages. The biggest is sheer power: you can build desktops to be much more powerful than any desktop. There’s so much space in a desktop computer chassis that build-outs and/or upgrades are simple. Taking apart a desktop computer and upgrading a graphics or wireless network card is so easy that most of us can do it ourselves. If you don’t know, the solution is a few tools and a YouTube video away.
That’s not true for laptops. When was the last time you tried taking apart your MacBook?
Let’s get to one of the key considerations for updating a desktop. If you’re designing a new desktop or upgrading your current system, one of the things that you’ll need to look at is your network hardware. Some motherboards come with built-in Wi-Fi. Often, though, it’s cheap, low-performance, and slow.
Since you have a desktop computer, you might as well look at a quality high-performance PCIe Wi-Fi card to make it a Wi-Fi hot rod. A good adapter can fundamentally transform the speed and usability of your desktop computer.
The list we have provided above details some of the best available. We hope that it will help you select the PCIe Wi-Fi card that is right for your system.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or Комментарии и мнения владельцев.
Best PCIe Wi-Fi cards for gaming 2023
Over the past couple of decades, the technology industry has gone a bit bonkers for wireless compatibility. So the best PCIe Wi-Fi cards for gaming will be key for a good speed. As we’re seeing more wireless mice, headsets, and keyboards than ever before, mainly thanks to new, more cost-effective ways of removing the hassle of cables.
With that being the case, it’s no surprise that more and more people are now wanting to remove the hassle of cables when it comes to their internet needs as well. PCIe Wi-Fi cards have been growing in popularity exponentially over the past couple of years, with the marketplace now offering a sea of affordable options for all levels of performance. That makes choosing the best PCI-e Wi-Fi card for gaming all the more difficult.
Fear not though, here at WePC we like to lend a helping hand – do some of the hard work for you, if you will. We’ve got our hands on some of the best Wi-Fi adapters out there, and we’re gonna put them through their paces to see which is best for gaming.
In the following article, we’ll be exploring signal strength, signal distance, speeds, reliability, heatsinks, and everything else that comes with a PCIe Wi-Fi card purchase. We’ll be concluding with our four best PCIe Wi-Fi cards and why we think they’re worth your consideration.
So, with all that in mind, let’s waste no further time and dive straight into it!
Our top picks
GIGABYTE Wi-Fi 6E GC-WBAX210
Best PCIe Wi-Fi cards for gaming
GIGABYTE Wi-Fi 6E GC-WBAX210
- Latest and fastest Wi-Fi protocol
- Small and easy to install
- Well built and cooled to continue good signal without throttling
If you’re looking for the top-end choice of speed and you have the hardware to match, then having a 6E-compatible Wi-Fi card for your router is important. You need to have both at the same protocol to get the benefit and as such the Gigabyte Wi-Fi 6E GC-WBAX210 is a great choice. Even with its very catchy name, it does give the optimal speed.
The PCIe Wi-Fi card offers the top range of speeds when capable, as the protocol is the emptiest Band at the moment so you can benefit from the speed. And this card along with Bluetooth does give you a good connection and features.; Along with a good cooling shroud that won’t throttle your speeds with prolonged use. As well as a good antenna with tilting and magnetics.
Now with the 6E usage and the 2×2 802. 11ax the GC-WBAX210 boasts a speed of up to 2400 Mbps, so it will be just like a wired connection. But you do have to have the hardware already in place to support it, like a 6E router.
Asus PCE-AC56 PCI Wireless Express Adapter
The Asus PCE-AC56 gets the number one spot for PCIe Wi-Fi card for gaming and it’s easy to see why. The AC56, as we’ll call it, not only provides excellent speeds and overall performance, but it also brings a ton of reliability to the table as well.
The Asus PCE-AC56 offers dual-Band operations and supports transfer speeds up to 876Mbps (5GHz) or 400Mbps (2.4GHz). Alongside this, Asus has equipped it with various modulation technologies, including OFDM, DQPSK, CCK, DBPSK, 64QAM, and 16QAM, all helping to improve performance whilst allowing for data transfer prioritization.
Thanks to the two external antennae, locating the perfect position from your laptop/PC to your router couldn’t be easier. Pairing this with the wide range the AC56 supports and you can pretty much put your computer wherever you want.
The easy-to-install AC56 is compatible with most versions of Windows and adds a certain level of aesthetic appeal to your build. Take all these factors into consideration, alongside the powerful heatsink it comes equipped with, and you have a superb little PCIe Wi-Fi card for your next build.
TP-Link AC1300 PCIe Wi-Fi Card
If you’re looking for wide coverage, solid signal strength, and an affordable price tag, look no further. The TP-Link AC1300 PCIe Wi-Fi card is a well-balanced mix of all three, bringing the reliability of TP-Link’s name with it.
This particular adapter offers up speeds of 867Mbps in the 5GHz range and 400Mbps in the 2.4GHz range, putting it bang in line with the top performers in this guide. Speeds of this height are going to be more than enough to play most gaming scenarios, alongside excellent streaming and browsing results too.
Whilst the two external antennas aren’t the best in the world, they do provide adequate range reception for your Wi-Fi – allowing you more freedom when choosing a location for the game. The heatsink on the AC1300 is up there with the best in this guide, providing excellent thermal dissipation whilst in use.
This model supports most versions of Windows – including Windows 10. However, that being said, it, unfortunately, does not cover Linux. Overall, it’s still one of the best Wi-Fi cards in today’s market – and a damn good value one too.
Ubit Wi-Fi 6E Supports 6GHz 7th Generation PCIe Wi-Fi Card
2400 Mbps @ 5GHz. 574 Mbps @ 2.4GHz
2402 Mbps @ 6GHz. 2402 Mbps @ 5GHz. 574 Mbps @ 2.4GHz
- Wi-Fi 6 – Supports fastest Wi-Fi available.
- Bluetooth 5.2 – Faster than 4.2, with broader coverage.
- PCI-e 4.0 – Low latency device communication.
- Concurrent Bluetooth Device Support – Can be used by multiple devices and apps at the same time.
Ubit’s 7th gen Wi-Fi card offers up a combination of high transfer speeds and a lag-free experience, making it a fine choice for gamers of all genres. It is also the only card in this list that comes equipped with a cabled antenna system, giving it a slight edge in the range department.
The AX210 card comes equipped with two detachable antennas that connect to the Wi-Fi card via a screw system at the rear. Users are offered a dual-Band frequency with the Ubit Wi-Fi card, providing around 2400Mbps in the 5.0GHz range and 574Mbps in 2.4GHz – both of which are ample to support most gaming needs. Furthermore, this Wi-Fi card comes with a BlueTooth 5.2 connection, allowing you to easily connect to compatible devices if you wish.
Overall, when you consider all the factors involved, we consider the Ubit 7th Gen Wi-Fi adapter to be fantastic value for money – easily one of our top picks in this category.
If you’re looking for a fast-performing PCIe Wi-Fi card but don’t have the cash to splash out on one of the premium offerings, fear not, Rosewill has you covered. This, their RNX-AC1900PCE, is a superb combination of performance and affordability. It’ll provide you with all the speed you require to run games efficiently, alongside a wide range and good quality antennae.
As far as speeds go, the AC1900 provides a handsome 1300Mbps on 5GHz range and 600Mbps on 2.4GHz – both extremely good for the price point. The AC1900 comes equipped with three detachable, omnidirectional antennas which are one of the main factors that contribute to its great performance. They make finding a clean, strong, and interrupt-free location for your PC/laptop very easy indeed.
As far as support goes, the AC1900 was extremely easy to install and worked with most Windows-based systems. That being said, there have been documented cases of this Wi-Fi card not working with Windows 10 systems. We, however, encountered no issues whatsoever.
Things to consider before buying a PCIe Wi-Fi card for gaming
Like all hardware components, choosing the best PCIe Wi-Fi card for gaming requires certain levels of consideration to ensure you choose the right one. As the market is currently flooded with a sea of options, it can sometimes be difficult choosing the one that best suits your setup.
For that reason, we’ve put together the main aspects of a Wi-Fi card that should always be considered prior to purchase. These will cover the main factors that affect you from a performance and gaming standpoint.
Data transfer speed and bandwidth
Data transfer speed and bandwidth is a hugely important aspects when it comes to gaming, especially for those that like to play more competitive titles. The speed and bandwidth of your Wi-Fi card will dictate how quickly you’ll receive your internet connection. For gamers, you want to be choosing a data transfer speed that covers the speed of your internet.
The speed of your Wi-Fi card is a combination of several factors working together, but ultimately all comes down to the demands of your network. A Wi-Fi card that works well for your work colleague might not work as efficiently for you. Ther is a variance between download and upload speeds so those won’t come at the same level.
That said, any PCIe Wi-Fi card worth its weight will provide adequate speeds for a gamer and their household. As a base figure, gamers should be looking for at least one Gigabit of data throughput. This is more than enough speed to accommodate your gaming/browsing needs. However, for those looking to achieve the highest levels of wireless connectivity, two and three-Gigabit Wi-Fi cards are available. Making sure to fit those GHz Band and get the best download speeds.
Encryption is also key over radio waves. The use of WPA over Wi-Fi is standard and a more modern option is good for the standard. This may carry by the chipset and how new the card is, especially when you have no ethernet cable to be used and you’re sending out your data.
Number quality of antennas
The antennas that come attached to your Wi-Fi card are probably much more important than you would initially think. Firstly, the antennas are the feature of a Wi-Fi card that transmits and receives the data given out by your wireless router. That makes them hugely important in the greater scheme of things. Whilst the quality of the antenna is extremely important, so is the number of antennas that your Wi-Fi card accommodates.
Each of the antennae on your Wi-Fi card can transmit and receive data. So, having more high performance antennas theoretically means you can receive more data. Furthermore, positioning your antenna in different directions can increase the coverage of your wireless connection.
However, it isn’t all about quantity – we’ve also got to consider quality. The marketplace is a sea of Wi-Fi card options, many of which try to claim your cash by offering ‘bang for your buck’ price tags – achieved by reducing the quality of certain features. That said, if you are serious about wireless gaming, you must factor in the quality of your antennas.
The quality of your antennas will dictate certain characteristics of your Wi-Fi card, including signal strength, signal distance, speed, bandwidth, and overall coverage. When purchasing a Wi-Fi card, try and discover what antenna the manufacturers have used. If they’re unimpressive stock antennas, you might want to consider replacing that. As with the wireless network cards, the signal reception may be improved with more antennas and limit the interference you experience.
Like most PC components, thermals and cooling are some of the most important things to consider when it comes to gaming. If thermals start to increase, you see a Rapid decline in the efficiency of that hardware component. The same can most definitely be said for Wi-Fi cards – the main reason why you’ll often see them equipped with fair large heatsinks.
Ultimately, if you want the best Wi-Fi experience, look for an adapter that comes equipped with a fairly good-sized heatsink. This will ensure that your Wi-Fi card is running in optimal conditions.
Whilst the size of your Wi-Fi card doesn’t actually have a direct correlation with gaming performance, it can affect you in other ways. For example, if your Wi-Fi card is too large, you might end up blocking other more important hardware components – such as the GPU.
Just keep in mind how much available space you have to play with when purchasing a Wi-Fi card. The last thing you want to be doing is sending stuff back and restarting your search.
There may be variations in the low profile bracket option if you are fitting it into a smaller desktops. These tend to be low-profile PCIe wireless cards that don’t take up much room in your build. Especially when it comes compared to the large 4-slot graphics cards.
Another thing is the compatibility or which version of Wi-Fi you are using between the router and the Wi-Fi card. You want to make sure that you’re not missing out on any performance and speed between the two devices.
So if you’ve already got or planning on getting a 6E router, you want to make sure you have a PCIe Wi-Fi card to match. As you want to make sure you can take advantage of the faster and less traffic full protocol. Which will make sure you get the most out of your devices. Ranging in the MHz channels with the wireless cards give yours a good ultra-low latency options.
So, there you have it guys, our comprehensive rundown of the best PCIe Wi-Fi cards for gaming in 2023. We hope this article has shed a little light on a topic that is sometimes overlooked. We’ve tried to break the technology side of things down into easy-to-digest pieces of info that could actually aid you in your next best Wi-Fi card selection.
The Best Wi-Fi Cards for PCs and Laptops in 2023
If you want a quick and easy way to enable wireless connectivity on your computer you can either get a USB Wi-Fi adapter or a Wi-Fi card. Both solutions are relatively simple to install, although the latter one requires users to open their PC case. But, that’s not so complex of operation as it may seem as. The thing is, the market is crowded with all kinds of Wi-Fi cards. Finding the best Wi-Fi card can be a drag so why don’t you check out this list instead?
We have the best Wi-Fi cards for PC right here. Below, you’ll find best Wi-Fi 6 cards, cards that feature fast speeds and long ranges (perfect to combine with a long-range Wi-Fi router), as well as both PCIe and M.2 Wi-Fi cards. And once you finish reading the list, check out our Wi-Fi card buying guide. It has lots of helpful info regarding Wi-Fi cards. And now, let’s check the best PCIe Wi-Fi cards and the best M.2 Wi-Fi cards you can find right now.
Best Wi-Fi Cards
Wi-Fi 6E on a Budget
- Wi-Fi 6E PCIe Card
- Bluetooth 5.3
- MU-MIMO and OFDMA
- Speeds up to 2.4 Gbps
If your motherboard does not natively support Wi-Fi connections, getting a PCIe Wi-Fi expansion card is a solid option to extend your network capabilities. The TP-Link Archer TXE72E is a Wi-Fi 6E network adapter which is the latest tech available currently.
This device is capable of 2.4 Gbps (2402 Mbps in 6GHz, 2402 Mbps in 5 GHz, or 574 Mbps in 2.4 GHz) with ultra-low latency while using MU-MIMO and OFDMA. The Archer TXE72E is also capable of Bluetooth 5.3 so you can have a broad and fast Bluetooth connection as well besides fast Wi-Fi.
Finally, the device is also WPA3 secured which means information being sent by your network is protected from hackers allowing for a fast and safe network for your gaming and office needs.
- Low-profile bracket and small device that can fit in most builds without issues
- 2 solid antennas for Wi-Fi 6E speeds
- The fact that the device has Bluetooth as well makes it a great 2-in-1 device
- Greater security with WPA3
Solid Wi-Fi 6E Experience
- Wi-Fi 6E
- Bluetooth 5.2
- 6GHz Band connectivity
- External antennas for a broader range
If your motherboard did not come with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth compatibility a quick fix for that is buying an extra PCI-E expansion card that can offer you both. The Asus offering on the market allows you to achieve Wi-Fi 6E which is the fastest network standard currently available.
You will be able to use the dedicated 6GHz Band for less congestion and faster speeds on your main PC. The expansion card also comes with Bluetooth 5.2 which is also the latest tech and allows for improved signal range and performance with less interference from other devices.
As with most expansion cards you also get two external antennas which will help you with Wi-Fi dead zones in your house.
- Allows for the fastest internet speeds
- The newest Bluetooth standard is used
- Can be used with any PCI-E slot
- The extra antennas allow for a stronger signal
- The Bluetooth connection might be finicky with this device
- Driver issues seem to happen in certain situations
Experience Gigabit Internet on Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi seems quite finicky compared to a solid Ethernet connection and while that still holds even with an expansion card, this Gigabyte GC-WBAX210 Wi-Fi card gets pretty close to wired internet while using Wi-Fi 6E.
This expansion card is using an Intel AX210 module which unlike the AX200 module is tri-Band so it can support 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz. The 6GHz is a high bandwidth separate channel for that up to 2400 Mbps experience.
Besides the fast and reliable Wi-Fi, the card offers Bluetooth 5.2 which is the fastest version available right now.
Overall the 2×2 802.11ax/Tri-Band Wi-Fi seems to be rock solid on this Gigabyte card and unlike other expansion cards is pretty straightforward to set up and use.
- Well build device
- Stable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection without drops
- Pretty easy to get it going with the drivers from the Gigabyte site
- The antenna has a magnetic base
- You will need a free power header on your motherboard otherwise you will need to buy a splitter
Excellent Budget Wi-Fi PCIe Card With Wi-Fi 6 Support
- Wi-Fi Support: Up To Wi-Fi 6
- Dual-Band: Yes
- Max Bandwidth: Up To 2402Mbps (5Ghz); Up To 574Mbps (2.4Ghz)
- OS Compatibility: Windows 10, Linux, Chrome OS
The AX200 from Ubit is another Wi-Fi 6 PCIe card with fast speeds and an affordable price. This card offers full Wi-Fi 6 support including Wi-Fi 6 exclusive features such as OFDMA or TWT. The two antennas that come with this card can only be mounted directly on the card.
Since there’s no antenna base you won’t be able to tweak the position of the antennas to get a better signal. This is why we cannot recommend this card to hardcore gamers. In order to get the best gaming experience, they have to be able to move the antenna around and they cannot do this with this card.
But everyone else should definitely check out this card. It has excellent performance that’s advertised as up to 2402 Mbps on the 5GHz Band and up to 574Mbps over the 2.4Ghz Band. User reviews mention that the card can top out gigabit internet plans, with speed reaching around 900Mbps.
This is an excellent result, in line with more expensive Wi-Fi 6 cards. On top of its excellent performance, the AX200 also comes with Bluetooth 5.1 support, which brings a number of updates over Bluetooth 5.0. Overall, this is another great budget Wi-Fi card that can reach very fast speeds thanks to its Wi-Fi 6 support.
Flawless TP-Link Experience
- Wi-Fi 6E standard
- Bluetooth 5.2
- WPA3 security
- OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology
People buy TP-Link devices because when it comes to networking these are known to be pretty much the standard. In the case of the Archer TXE75E expansion card, the same can be said – a solid networking experience without any hiccups.
The expansion card uses the Wi-Fi 6E standard and has Tri-Band compatibility with 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz bands. To make full use of your 6E router you should be using your 6GHz dedicated Band for the lowest latency and highest (up to 2400Mbps) speeds.
Besides better network coverage the TP-Link device also enables your PC to connect to Bluetooth devices with Bluetooth 5.2 for the fastest and most reliable experience. The device also comes packed with extra features like OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology for lower lag on your network.
The expansion card is also well built with a heatsink, magnetic base for the antennas, and a low-profile bracket to fit into smaller builds. A solid choice from TP-Link as always.
- No recorded drops in signal for the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
- Uses the latest technology for your connections
- Wider signal with the included antennas
- Low-profile bracket for smaller builds
The Best M.2 Wi-Fi Card
- Wi-Fi Support: Up To Wi-Fi 6
- Dual-Band: Yes
- Max Bandwidth: Up To 2402Mbps
- OS Compatibility: Windows 10, Linux, Chrome OS
The AX200 Wi-Fi chip from Intel can be installed into any laptop or desktop PC with a dedicated M.2 slot for a Wi-Fi card. It features the AE M.2 key and should fit into any M.2 slot dedicated for a Wi-Fi card. These slots can be found on some desktop motherboards as well as in most modern laptops.
Now, this card supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connection, which is great for the price. The downside is that if you plan on installing it on a desktop PC get ready to find and install some external antennas, which shouldn’t be too hard. Once you install the AX200, get ready for fast performance. This card can reach 1Gbps if you have fast enough internet plan, which is awesome for the price.
And since external Wi-Fi antennas can be found at very low you can build a very fast Wi-Fi chip antenna combo for cheap. Still, if you own a desktop PC we would rather recommend a regular, PCIe Wi-Fi card. There are excellent cards on this list with Wi-Fi 6 support, great performance and range, and low price. But if you own a laptop, this card is a no brainer recommendation. It’s very fast, it sports an extremely affordable price, and it should fit inside most modern laptops.
- Very Affordable
- Excellent Performance
- Supports Wi-Fi 6
- Can Fit Most Modern Laptops
M.2 6E Wi-Fi Card
- M.2 slot expansion card
- Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 6.2
- WPA, WPA2, and WPA3 network security
- MU-MIMO, 1024QAM, OFDMA, 160MHz
If instead of a PCI-E card you want to use an extra M.2 slot to get better networking then the OKN expansion card is the perfect choice for you.
This is a Wi-Fi 6E card with all the bells and whistles like Tri-Band support (574 Mbps – 2.4GHz, 2400 Mbps – 5GHz, 2400Mbps – 6GHz) MU-MIMO, 1024QAM, OFDMA, 160MHz, etc. This is all possible because the device uses an AX210 Intel chip which has the newest network technology.
Your PC will also benefit from Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity with the AX210 chip allowing for lower latency and better coverage. To make use of all of these features you will need to be using Windows 10 and have a newer AMD/Intel CPU which is compatible with all of these technologies.
- Compatible with laptops/PCs with an open M.2 slot
- Uses the newest AX210 Intel chip for networking
- Solid Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
- Uses standard Intel drivers for setup
How To Choose A Wi-Fi Card
Picking the right Wi-Fi card isn’t that complicated. Just check whether your router supports Wi-Fi 6 and then look either for a card that supports Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 6 includes some cool tech that should decrease lag and latency so we recommend a Wi-Fi 6 card and router for all gamers playing over a wireless connection. And no, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a Wi-Fi 6 router since even some sub-100 routers support Wi-Fi 6.
Next, check user and professional reviews to see the performance and if the card’s fast enough for your internet plan. Remember that M.2 cards’ performance is relative since it depends on the antennas found in different laptop models and different external antennas on desktop PCs. Then, read our USB Wi-Fi adapter buying guide. It’s filled with helpful data for everyone looking for a Wi-Fi card (just skip the USB-specific stuff). And finally, read on about specific things to look out for when buying a PCIe or M.2 Wi-Fi card below.
M.2 Wi-Fi Cards Require A Dedicated M.2 Slot, Except In One Case
Unlike PCIe Wi-Fi cards, which are reserved for desktop computers, M.2 Wi-Fi cards can be installed both on desktop and laptop computers. But, they require a dedicated M.2 slot to install into. They usually use E key M.2 slots. These can be found on some newer desktop motherboards as well as on most newer laptop models.
You should have a dedicated Wi-Fi M.2 slot listed on the specs page of your motherboard. And, in case of a laptop, you can check whether your Wi-Fi card is using an M.2 slot or it is soldered onto the board. If it uses a dedicated Wi-Fi M.2 slot, you’re good to go.
Another way to make an M.2 Wi-Fi card to work on a desktop is to hook it up to an M.2 to PCIe adapter made specifically for M.2 Wi-Fi cards. This adapter should work with every Intel M.2 Wi-Fi card. This way you can use an M.2 card on a desktop PC that doesn’t have an M.2 slot for a Wi-Fi card.
If Installing An M.2 Card On A Desktop PC Make Sure To Hook It To An External Antenna
If you plan on getting an M.2 card for your desktop PC, make sure to also get an external antenna. M.2 cards on a laptop use its built-in antennas but on the desktop, they will have a very poor range without an antenna.
Luckily, the installation process is painless. First of all, find an external antenna, there are lots of models there and most are quite cheap. Next, follow this tutorial video on how to equip an M.2 card with an antenna. BTW, you should have holes for the antenna connectors on the rear panel armor in case your motherboard has a dedicated Wi-Fi card M.2 slot so don’t worry about that detail.
You Can Install PCIe Wi-Fi Cards On Any PCIe Slot
Since the PCIe ports are modular you don’t have to put the PCIe Wi-Fi card in an x1 PCIe slot. You can use any available PCIe slot on your motherboard. The only one we don’t recommend using is the primary X16 slot reserved for the graphics card.
If You Have Issues With Signal Strength Get A Card With A Portable Antenna Base
A portable antenna base allows users to move it around their desk in order to get a better signal. If your router is across the room of your PC, or if another room, you might have issues with signal strength. It may be blocked by your case or some other object. With a portable antenna base, you can move the antenna away from the case and get a stronger and more reliable Wi-Fi signal.
PCIe Wi-Fi Cards Offer Faster Performance Than USB Cards
In order for your USB port to be faster than an x1 PCIe 3.0 slot (used in PCIe Wi-Fi cards) it has to support the latest, USB 3.2 Gen 2 spec, and those aren’t that common. And if you own an X570 or B500 motherboard, you have PCIe 4.0 PCIe ports there, which are twice as fast as PCIe ports. So, in most cases, PCIe Wi-Fi cards can support faster speeds, in theory, than USB Wi-Fi adapters. If you need the best speed, get a PCIe Wi-Fi card.
On the other hand, USB Wi-Fi adapters can also be a better choice, in some cases. For instance, if you have both a desktop and laptop with a broken Wi-Fi chip or two laptops or any other combination that includes multiple computers that need access to a wireless network, getting a USB Wi-Fi adapter is a better choice. You can simply remove it and hook it to another device, swapping it between devices in a second. You can’t do that with PCIe and M.2 Wi-Fi Cards.