What is the best wifi card?
There are so many options to choose from, you can lose your mind sorting them out.
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.
That is where our list comes in today, as we’ll be taking a look at some of the best PCI Wireless Adapters that are available for purchase. These wireless adapters connect to any PCI port within your custom build, and allows you to connect to wireless networks with ease. With that in mind, let’s take a look at top ten PCI adapters.
To top off our best PCI wireless network adapters list today, we are showcasing an adapter that is not only a great fit in any custom build, but affordable as well. This adapter is the TP-Link N150 Wireless PCI Adapter.
- Adopts Align technology, with transmit speed up to 150Mbps Provides PCI Express connector having a wider compatibility with any standard PCI Express slot
- Supports QSS function, complying with WPS for worry free wireless security Supports 64/128/152-bit WEP, WPA /WPA2/WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK(TKIP/AES), supports IEEE 802.1X
- Standards: IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b Interface: PCI Express Antenna: 2dBi Detachable Mini-Omni Antenna
- Wireless Speed:802.11n: Up to 150Mbps 802.11g: Up to 54Mbps 802.11b: Up to 11Mbps
- Frequency Range: 2.4~2.4835GHz Wireless Transmit Power: 18dBm(MAX EIRP) Modulation Technology: OFDM/CCK/16-QAM/64-QAM
Something that anybody wants out of their internet is more speed, and that is something that users will get with our next product, the Fenvi Desktop adapter.
- Bands: 2.4 GHz-150 Mbps/5 Ghz-300 Mbp
- Wi-Fi CERTIFIED: 802.11a/b/g/n
- Compliance： PCIe 1x 4x 8x 16x + Low Profile bracket
- Supported Operating Systems Windows XP 64-bit Edition*, Windows 7, 32-bit*, Windows 7, 64-bit*, Windows 8, 32-bit*, Windows 8, 64-bit*, Windows 8.1, 32-bit*, Windows XP 32-bit Edition*, Windows 8.1, 64-bit*, Windows 10, 32-bit*, Windows 10, 64-bit*
- Driver: http://en.fenvi.com/en/download_zx.php
Our next adapter comes from the computer wizards at ASUS with their PCE-N15 wireless internet adapter. Much like any product you may come across from ASUS, this adapter is one that is sure to please many people.
- Software AP - 2-in-2 device for wireless connection sharing
- WPS(Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button - Quickly set up a secure wireless connection
- Support Multiple OS - Windows and Linux
- WPS(Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button - Quickly set up a secure wireless connection;
- Software AP - Connect your notebook and game consoles to the Internet; Supports WEP, WPA-PSK, and WPA2-PSK methods for enhanced security
Rosewill may not have the name recognition as some others on our list, such as ASUS or TP-Link, but don’t let that fool you. The Rosewill N900 adapter is an adapter that can top even the best of adapters.
- Popular Wi-Fi Standards: IEEE 802.11b / g / n. Supports up to 450Mbps wireless data over 2.4Ghz band and up to 450Mbps wireless data over 5.0Ghz band on 11N wireless network.it is also seamlessly compatible with 802.11b / g / n products
- Rose will RNWD-N9003PCe allows desktops / PC to connect to high-speed wireless networks which satisfied all your internet needs in one network card.
- Dual Band Connectivity: Experience smoother video streaming and online gaming by choosing the clearer 5.0GHz band for wireless connections and basic internet need like online chat and email at 2.4GHz band
- Quick setup, easy installation with bundled CD utility
- Three antennas stands for increased wireless coverage, strong Wi-Fi performance and Wi-Fi connection stability
Our first entry, the TP-Link N150, while a great choice for those on a budget, was rather limited in features. That changes with our next TP-Link offering – the N900 – with their Dual Band PCI Express adapter.
- Allows desktop computers to connect to high-speed wireless networks, Reaches blazing speeds of up to 450Mbps at 2.4GHz or 5.0GHz. You are recommended to upgrade your router to the latest version of firmware and utility(USB Printer Controller) to support more printers and for better user experience
- Quick, easy installation with bundled CD utility, three antennas for increased wireless performance and stability and frequency-2.4-2.4835GHz, 5.180-5.240GHZ, 5.745-5.825GHz
- Supports dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels for smoother HD video streaming, online gaming, and file sharing and wireless modes are Ad-Hoc / infrastructure mode
- Compatibile with 802.11a/b/g/n products, supports Windows XP 32/64bit, Vista 32/64bit, Windows 7 32/64bit, Windows 8 32/64bit
- 2-year warranty and unlimited 24/7 technical support
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.
- 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
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.
Once again on our list, we see the brand of TP-Link pop up, this time with their powerful Archer T6E model.
- Lightning Fast Speed:Upgrade your WiFi card to 1300Mbps Wi-Fi speeds. Frequency 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz
- More Stable Performance: 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
- Ultimate Range: Increased wireless range with 2x external antennas to ensure a greater range of WiFi connection and stability. Detachable antennas. Modulation Technology: DBPSK, DQPSK, CCK, OFDM, 16-QAM, 64-QAM, 256-QAM
- Compatibility: Supports Windows 10 **Please upgrade to 17025 Insider Preview Build** / 8.1 / 8 / 7 / XP
- Industry Leading Support: 2-year warranty and free 24/7 technical support; J.D. Power Ranked TP-Link "Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Wireless Routers in 2017"
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.
We are now in the top three portion of our list, and while the prices may be higher with our next three adapters, we also get more features. Such is the case with this adapter, the ASUS PCE-AC56.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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 modes
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.
While our number one pick for today, 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 (you know if wifi cards had feelings…)
- Dual-band 4x4 AC3100 Wi-Fi with speeds up to 2100Mbps (5GHz band) and 1000Mbps 2.4GHz band. Operating Temperature: 0 °C to 40 °C ( °F to ºF)
- 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 86x64,Windows 7 86x64.
- 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
As you can see above, this is quite expensive for a PCI adapter, so it’s natural to feel some apprehension when you look at the PCE-AC88.
If you decide to take the plunge and buy this adapter, you will be treated to speeds like never before, with 2100Mbps and 1100MBps available from the adapter’s dual bands. This, along with an external, multiple antenna base, give you more coverage and speed than most other adapters available.
Should something happen to the external antennas, or should you just wish to replace them, you will be happy to know that doing so is simple, as the PCE-AC88 is compatible with most aftermarket antennas. If you are worried that all the power of the PCE-AC88 could cause overheating, worry no more, as the adapter has a custom heatsink, that disperses heat and keeps the device nice and cool.
While this ASUS model may be expensive for some people’s taste, the cost is more than worth it for the sheer amount of power that the PCE-AC88 puts right at your fingertips.
As a final note, if you do purchase this wireless card, make sure to just plug it in and let the computer fetch the appropriate drivers. There have been many complaints about installing the provided drivers or downloading the driver from the ASUS site. If this is true, first plug it in and if everything works as it should do as my Grandmother says “best leave well enough alone“
That concludes our list for today. With ten options at your disposal, you should be able to find the perfect PCI adapter for your custom build. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next time.
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