There are so many options to choose best PCI WiFi Card from, you can lose your mind sorting them out.
Do I need a WiFi Card or Adapter ?
While convenient to be able to connect to a hardwired ethernet connection when able, sometimes the extra cords can get in the way, and become a real hassle when making room available for your custom computer.
This is why, when creating your computer, you may want to consider putting a wireless adapter into your build. It eliminates unwanted wires, and, with the right adapter, provides internet speed that rivals even the best wired connections.
What is it ?
Wireless network adapters are devices that are installed to allow the sending and receiving of data via a wireless network. This convenience is highly important for just about every computer, as wireless network adapters ensure that users enjoy flawless network and internet connectivity.
USB vs. PCI
If you need to get wireless connectivity on your beige box, you have a few options: you can use either USB Wi-Fi adapter, a PCI-E Wi-Fi card, a new motherboard with built-in Wi-Fi.
One type of wireless network adapter are known as PCI wireless adapters- they’re intended for desktop computers. As long as your computer has an available PCI slot on your motherboard.
Most PCI-based wireless adapters come with multiple large antennas that stick straight out of the rear of your system and help maximize your throughput in a Wireless N environment thanks to a transmission technique called spatial multiplexing. Since you have to install a PCI adapter right onto your system’s motherboard, you’ll discover that it’s less convenient than a USB adapter if you ever need to move it to another system. But a PCI-based adapter, like the Xtreme N PCI Express Desktop Adapter (DWA-556) is an excellent choice if you want top-notch wireless power for a single desktop PC.
A PCI wireless adapter card connects to a desktop computer’s PCI bus. Because the PCI bus is contained inside the computer, the unit must be opened and the wireless network adapter installed inside.
When choosing wireless networking hardware for your new computer, the choices available can sometimes be overwhelming. Not only must you choose the right card, but you need to ensure you have the right antenna for your needs.
The specific card and antenna combination necessary will generally be based on 3 key factors: what you will be using the network-connected device for, what kind of wireless network you are connecting to and how far away you are from the source signal? If you know the answers to these basic questions, choosing the right network solution can be fairly easy.
Top 5: Best PCI WiFi Card !
1. ASUS 4×4 802.11AC Wireless AC3100 PCIe Adapter (PCE-AC88)
The ASUS PCE-AC88, may be a little daunting price wise for some, every penny spent on this adapter is worth it. This wireless adapter is the crown jewel other wireless cards aspire for.
ASUS 4×4 AC3100 PCIe Adapter
- Dual-band 4×4 AC3100 Wi-Fi with speeds up to 2100Mbps (5GHz band) and 1000Mbps 2.4GHz band
- External magnetic antenna base allows Flexible antenna placement to maximize coverage. Note- Support MU-MIMO technology
- Individual antennas can also attach directly to PCIe card for compact installation. Modulation-1024QAM.
- Custom heatsink effectively dissipates heat for improved stability and reliability. OS Support-Windows 10 86×64,Windows 7 86×64.
- R-SMA antenna connectors enable compatibility with a variety of aftermarket antennas. Quoted network speeds and bandwidth based on current IEEE 802.11ac specifications. Actual performance may be affected by network and service provider factors, interface type, and other conditions. Connected devices must be 802.11ac-compatible for best results
- Dual Band (5Ghz at 2100Mbps) (2.4Ghz at 1100Mbps)
- External antenna maximizes connection
- Compatible with aftermarket antennas
- Heatsink to maintain strong connection
- ASUS drivers could cause issues
2. TP-Link AC1750 Archer T8E PCI Express Adapter
For the fourth, and last time, on our list of PCI Adapters today, we see TP-Link. This time, they attempt to blow the competition out of the water with another of their Archer models, the T8E.
TP-Link AC1750 Archer T8E
- Combined speeds of up to 1750Mbps with next-gen Wireless AC technology
- Dual 5GHz (1300Mbps) and 2.4GHz (450Mbps) bands for lag-free HD video streaming and online gaming
- 3T3R MIMO technology for reliable, high-bandwidth data transfer
- WPA/WPA2 encryption standards protect your Wi-Fi network
- Ad-hoc and infrastructure modesPros
- Dual Band (5Ghz at 1300Mbps) (2.4Ghz at 450Mbps)
- High bandwidth data transfer
- Backwards compatible wifi
- Compatibility with Windows 10
To start, this adapter is capable of lightning fast speeds. Capable of internet speeds of up to 1750Mbps across the adapter’s dual bands, the T8E is able to give users fast, uninterrupted internet while gaming online or during other activities.
If you happen to download a lot of stuff online, then you will like that the T8e offers higher bandwidth options, that reduces download times like never before. Even if you happen to be using an older wireless internet connection, you will still get the same great speeds out of the T8E, as the device is fully backwards compatible.
One major drawback that does come out of the T8E is for Windows 10 users, as there seems to be some compatibility issues with the device. While these issues can be fixed, the extra time and effort that goes into making the adapter work properly with Windows 10 can be more than some people wish to deal with.
I have found that while the driver hasn’t been updated since 2015, there is a recent video on TP Link’s website that describes how to get through some common troubleshooting issues.
All in all, TP-Link proves once again that they know how to make quality PCI network adapters. Dominating nearly half of todays list, if TP-Link is in the brand name, you know you will be buying a quality product. If you’re savvy computerwise, given the price and the speed that the T8E offers – I still think it’s worth it.
- Provides an extensible design that enables Service prioritization for data. Network Standard : IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Design that delivers high availability, scalability, and for maximum flexibility and price/performance
- Instant 802.11ac Wi-Fi Upgrade for your desktop PC: no more messy Ethernet cables needed
- Next-generation 802.11ac chipset for super-fast connections up to 867 Mbps. Security 64-bit WEP, 128-bit WEP, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPS support
- OS Support-Windows 8.1 32bit/64bit, Windows 8 32bit/64bit,Windows 7 32bit/64bit,Windows Vista 2bit/64bit,Windows XP 32bit/64bit
- Dual Band (5Ghz at 867Mbps) (2.4Ghz at 400Mbps)
- Backwards compatible wifi connections
- Impressive wireless range
- No Linux support
This ASUS adapter comes with a few unique features that we have not seen yet on this list, including being able to adjust your wireless signal to prioritize data transferring. This allows you to focus your connection on downloading and uploading, helping you to finish these task in no time.
Two other unique features of this adapter is the ability to prevent overheating, thanks to the adapter’s heatsink, and the design of the adapter itself, which helps to eliminate any wireless deadzones. If this wasn’t enough to sell you on this adapter, the fact that, thanks to ASUS’ Broadcom TurboQAM technology, you are able to boost internet speeds even further, likely will.
All this comes with the fact that there is little to no downsides to speak of about the ASUS PCE-AC56, making the product near flawless, and a great way to kick off our top three products today.
Once again on our list, we see the brand of TP-Link pop up, this time with their powerful Archer T6E model.
TP-Link AC1300 (Archer T6E) Wireless PCI-Express Adapter
- Upgrade your WiFi card to 1300Mbps Wi-Fi speeds (867Mbps on 5GHz band or 400Mpbs on 2.4GHz band)
- Heat Sink technology distributes heat away from core components to improve reliability and performance
- Built for high-performance computing, such as online gaming and 4K Ultra HD video streaming
- Increased wireless range with 2x external antennas to ensure a greater range of WiFi connection and stability. Detachable antennas
- Easily upgrade your desktop system by simply slotting the Wi-Fi adapter into an available PCI-E slot.
- Prioritize data transfer for devices (hello gaming)
- Heatsink prevents overheating
- Pretty good range
- TurboQAM to help boost connection speeds
- For the price, none to think of
The speeds that the T6E are able to reach are the fastest on our list yet, with two bands capable of 867Mbps and 400Mbps respectively. This will allow for seamless upload and download speeds across your network, as well as latency free gaming and video streaming.
One unique thing about the T6E is that it is backwards compatible with some older wireless connections, including 802.11 a/b/g/n. Despite being backwards compatibility, the does not seem to be compatible with Linux operating systems, which seems like a slight oversight for an otherwise versatile adapter.
What is not an oversight is the wide wireless range of the T6E. Even if your computer happens to be on the other side of the house from your adapter, you can be certain that you will not lose connection thanks to the wireless network adapters large and strong signal range.
If you use a Linux OS, you’ll have to look elsewhere. For everyone else, however, the TP-Link Archer T6E is capable of giving your computer the strong wireless internet that you have been looking for.
5. Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I Rev PCI Express Adapter
We now come to the bottom half of our list today, and with it comes more powerful wireless adapters. Such is the case with our next product, the Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I Rev.
Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I Rev PCI-E Adapter
- Fully qualified Bluetooth 4.2
- IEEE 802.11ac standards compliant. Intel WIFI module supports Intel WIDI
- Antenna to support WLAN 2Tx2R transmission
- High speed wireless connection up to 867 Mbps
- Bluetooth Enhances Data Rate (EDR) support
- Speeds up to 800Mbps
- Strong antenna (even as a single antenna)
- Bluetooth capable
- Uses a USB port as well
The Gigabyte is capable of reaching speeds of up to 800Mbps, which allows for nearly seamless wireless internet (depending on your ISP). This means that you will be able to effortlessly game or watch videos, among other activities, with little to no lag from your network.
When you are downloading something online, the Gigabyte’s Bluetooth capabilities allows for a greater flow of data through your network. Keeping all that speed maintained is the powerful external antenna on the Gigabyte, which will help to prevent your connection from dipping and keeping it strong.
The only real drawback of the Gigabyte comes from the fact that to connect the adapter to your computer, you need the use of an extra USB port. While not a big issue, this can cause some problems to those building a custom computer with only a few USB ports to spare.
The Gigabyte, outside this one issue, is a nearly flawless adapter in every other regard. This makes the adapter a great choice for any computer user trying to get the most from their internet.