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.
Best PCIe Wi-Fi cards for Linux in 2023
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Finding Wi-Fi adapters that work out-of-the-box with Linux is no easy feat. Since most manufacturers do not support Linux out-of-the-box, you may often run into driver problems or other compatibility issues. But don’t worry, just like the list of Best USB Wi-Fi adapters for Linux, I have made a list of Best PCIe Wi-Fi card for Linux PCs that you can just plug and play.
Here’s the summary of the best PCIe Wi-Fi Cards for Linux:
|GIGABYTE Wi-Fi 6E GC-WBAX210||See details at Amazon|
|OKN Wi-Fi 6E PCIe Wi-Fi Card for PC||See details at Amazon|
|TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000 PCIe Wi-Fi Card (Archer TX3000E)||See details at Amazon|
|EDUP PCIe Wi-Fi 6 Network Card||See details at Amazon|
|Asus Wireless-AC2100 PCIe Card (PCE-AC58BT)||See details at Amazon|
|FebSmart Wireless Dual Band N600||See details at Amazon|
Check the chipset before purchasing any below-mentioned PCIe Wi-Fi cards. Many manufacturers (for example TP-Link) create a product with a different chipset without changing the product name.
Wi-Fi speed mentioned here is the maximum speed advertised by the manufacturer. Actual speed may vary depending on network conditions, environmental factors etc.
It is solely your responsibility to check if the PCIe card is compatible with your Desktop hardware (Case, motherboard etc.).
Many PCIe cards mentioned in this list have Bluetooth inbuilt. However, an additional USB port or 9-pin connection to the motherboard will be required for it to work.
This list is in the order of the latest Wi-Fi standard (Wi-Fi 6E, WiFi6, WiFi5 and so on). All of these PCIe cards work with Linux. Buy any card that suits your needs.
Wi-Fi Chipsets compatible with Linux
The below table shows the chipset used in the PCIe cards mentioned in this article, their Wi-Fi versions and their respective in-kernel support.
|Intel AX210||Wi-Fi 6E||5.10|
|Intel AX200||Wi-Fi 6||5.1|
|MediaTek MT7921||Wi-Fi 6||5.12|
|Intel 9260||Wi-Fi 5||4.14|
|Atheros AR9382/AR9462||Wi-Fi 4||3.17|
As you can see from the table, the in-kernel support for Intel AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E) is from version 5.10 and above. So, from this version and above you may get plug-and-play support for the PCIe Wi-Fi card with an Intel AX210 chipset.
In any case, if any of the cards mentioned in this article doesn’t work out-of-the-box for you or you’re not using the recommended kernel version, then you have to manually install the drivers.
Follow these links for more information regarding the drivers:
Best Wi-Fi Cards for Linux
GIGABYTE Wi-Fi 6E GC-WBAX210
The first PCIe Wi-Fi card for Linux on this list is the GIGABYTE GC-WBAX210. This tri-Band (2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz) card is powered by an Intel AX210 chipset that supports the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard and 160MHz channel.
It also has dual-stream Wireless in the 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz bands and you can get a maximum speed of up to 2400Mbps.
As for the antenna, this PCIe card is equipped with AORUS high-performance antenna. This external antenna has a multiple angle-tilt feature and magnetic base that allows you to place the antenna in an optimum location where you can get the best signal reception.
over, GIGABYTE GC-WBAX210 has MU-MIMO and Bluetooth 5.2 technology inbuilt. You can connect all your Bluetooth peripherals without the need of purchasing an external adapter.
If you are looking for a PCIe card for your Linux PC with all the latest Wi-Fi features, then GIGABYTE GC-WBAX210 will be the best choice.
Features of GIGABYTE GC-WBAX210:
- Wi-Fi 6E compatibility with Intel AX210 Chipset.
- Tri-Band (6GHz, 5GHz and 2.4GHz) PCIe Wi-Fi card.
- Support dual-stream Wireless in the 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz bands.
- Maximum speeds of up to 2400Mbps.
- Supports 160 MHz channel.
- Bluetooth 5.2 is included.
- External AORUS high-performance 2Tx2R antenna with magnetic base.
OKN Wi-Fi 6E PCIe Wi-Fi Card for PC
Another Wi-Fi 6E PCIe Wi-Fi card for Linux is on this list. OKN Wi-Fi 6E card is a tri-Band Wi-Fi card with a maximum speed of up to 2.4Gbps on both 5GHz and 6 GHz bands and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz Band.
This Wi-Fi 6E card is powered by an Intel AX210 chipset and supports 160MHz channel to increase the throughput and provide better connectivity when multiple users are connected.
over, it has inbuilt Bluetooth 5.2 technology to connect your wireless peripherals like headphones, wireless keyboards etc without the need for any additional Bluetooth adapter on your PC.
For using this PCIe card at full potential, you’ll need the latest router that supports Wi-Fi 6E. If you don’t have one right now, do not fret, as this card is backwards compatible with older (802.11a/b/g/n/ac) Wi-Fi standards.
Features of OKN Wi-Fi 6E card:
- Wi-Fi 6E compatibility with Intel AX210 Chipset.
- Tri-Band (6GHz, 5GHz and 2.4GHz) PCIe Wi-Fi card.
- Maximum speed of up to 2.4Gbps at 6GHz and 5GHz, up to 600Mbps on the 2.4 GHz Band.
- 2 External High Gain Antenna.
- Supports 160 MHz channel.
- Bluetooth 5.2 is included.
- Equipped with OFDMA, MU-MIMO, 1024QAM and Target Wake Time technologies.
- Backward compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi standards.
TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000 PCIe Wi-Fi Card (Archer TX3000E)
TP-Link Archer TX3000E ships with an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi chipset that has the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology.
This is a dual-Band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) Wi-Fi card for PC with a maximum speed of up to 2400 Mbps on the 5 GHz Band and up to 574 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz Band.
As for the antennas, Archer TX3000E has 2 multi-directional antennas. These high-performance antennas are shipped with a magnetized base. Therefore, you can easily place them in an optimal location to get the best signal reception.
over, it has integrated Bluetooth 5.0 support to connect all your favourite devices like headphones, wireless speakers etc. without needing any additional Bluetooth adapters on your PC.
Archer TX3000E is also equipped with OFDMA and MU-MIMO technologies. However, to use the full potential of this Wi-Fi card, a Wi-Fi 6 router is recommended. If you don’t have one right now, then don’t worry, Archer TX3000E is backwards compatible with older 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n standards.
Features of TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX3000:
- Wi-Fi 6 Compatibility with Intel AX200 chipset.
- Maximum Speed of up to 2402 Mbps (5 GHz) 574 Mbps (2.4 GHz).
- 2 multi-directional and high-performance antennas with a magnetized base.
- Equipped with OFDMA and MU-MIMO technologies.
- Supports WPA3 security standard.
- Bluetooth 5.0 is included to connect controllers, headphones, wireless keyboards and other Bluetooth devices.
- Backwards compatible with 802.11ac/a/b/g/n standards.
EDUP PCIe Wi-Fi 6 Network Card
EDUP PCIe Wi-Fi 6 is a dual-Band (2.4GHz and 5.8GHz) Wi-Fi card powered by the MediaTek MT7921 chipset. It offers a maximum speed of up to 1200Mbps on 5.8GHz and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz Band.
This PCIe Wi-Fi card ships with two 6dBi External antennas and has MU-MIMO and Bluetooth 5.2 technology inbuilt. over, this Wi-Fi 6 card is also backwards compatible with the older 802.11 ac/b/g/n Wi-Fi standards.
This PCIe card is a great alternative for Wi-Fi 6 with Intel AX200 chipset.
Features of EDUP PCIe Wi-Fi 6 Network Card:
- Wi-Fi 6 Compatibility with MediaTek MT7921 chipset.
- Dual-Band (2.4 GHz and 5.8GHz) PCIe Wi-Fi card.
- Maximum speed of up to 1200Mbps on 5.8GHz and up to 600Mbps on 2.4 GHz Band.
- 2x 6dBi External Antenna.
- Supports MU-MIMO Wireless Technology.
- Bluetooth 5.2 Technology included.
- Backwards Compatible with IEEE 802.11 ac/b/g/n standards.
Asus Wireless-AC2100 PCIe Wi-Fi Adapter (PCE-AC58BT)
Asus PCE-AC58BT is a dual-Band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) PCIe Wi-Fi card powered by Intel 9260 Wireless Chipset. It offers a maximum speed of up to 1.73 Gbps on the 5GHz Band when using 160MHz channel.
As for the antenna, this card ships with an external antenna with base to place the antenna at an optimum location to get the best signal reception.
over, PCE-AC58BT has MU-MIMO and Bluetooth 5.0 technology to connect all your wireless peripherals like headphones, speakers etc. without the need for any additional Bluetooth adapter.
Unlike previously mentioned PCIe cards for Linux, this one is not a Wi-Fi 6 device. It is a Wi-Fi 5 device (using the 802.11ac standard).
If you have a Wi-Fi 5 router and don’t plan to switch to a Wi-Fi 6 router anytime soon, then Asus PCE-AC58BT will be a great choice for your Linux desktop.
Features of Asus PCE-AC58BT:
- Intel 9260 Wireless chipset.
- Supports 160MHz channels.
- Maximum speed of up to 1.73Gbps on 5GHz Band with 160MHz support.
- Bluetooth 5.0 technology included.
- Built-in MU-MIMO technology.
- Ships with External Antenna with Base for increased coverage and better connectivity.
FebSmart Wireless Dual Band N600 (FS-N600)
Last on the PCIe card for Linux list is the FebSmart FS-N600 Wireless Dual Band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) card. It offers a maximum speed of up to 300Mbps on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
It comes with 2 external detachable antennas and supports WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK encryption standards.
Unlike other PCIe Wi-Fi cards on this list, this one doesn’t have inbuilt Bluetooth or uses the latest Wi-Fi standards. However, if you want a low-cost Wi-Fi card for an old Linux PC, then give this card a try.
Note: This card is available in 2 different chipsets – Atheros AR9382 and AR9462. Both chipsets work with Linux. However, you may need to install drivers on some distros. You can refer to the Ath9k wireless drivers for the same.
Features of FebSmart Wireless Dual Band N600:
- Qualcomm Atheros AR9382/AR9462 Chipset.
- Dual-Band (2.4 GHz and 5GHz) PCIe Wi-Fi card.
- Maximum speed of up to 300Mbps on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
- 2 External detachable antennas.
- Supports WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES) encryption standards.
That’s it for the best PCIe Wi-Fi card for Linux list. If you are using the right kernel version, then these Wi-Fi cards will work out of the box for you.
Intel has great Linux support and most drivers are in-built into the kernel and will likely work out of the box. If you don’t want the hassle of installing the drivers manually, then I recommend sticking to PCIe cards with Intel Chipset.
Also, you can check out my other articles related to Linux here.
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Best Wi-Fi 6 / 6E PCIe Wi-Fi Cards for desktop PC – 2023
Do you need a wireless network card to connect your computer to Wi-Fi? Your decision is right, as an internal PCIe Wi-Fi card provides stable and faster connectivity for gaming and other bandwidth-hungry tasks.
But if you’re not sure which card to pick, because there are many types of PCI Wi-Fi adapters available online. In this case, I will help you pick the best Wi-Fi cards for desktop computers.
Keep in mind that there is no particular sequence to the Wi-Fi cards discussed here. Depending on your requirements and budget, pick a Wi-Fi card that best suits you.
Quick comparison of Top Wi-Fi 6 PCIe Wi-Fi Cards
In this comparison I have included the WiFi6 and Wi-Fi 6E standard adapters with latest Bluetooth connectivity inbuilt. All this Wi-Fi cards comes with dual brackets. standard bracket and low profile bracket for mini tower cases except the Gigabyte.
|TP-Link Archer TX55E||Wi-Fi 6 (Dual-Band)||5.2||2 Fixed antennas (5 Dbi)|
|GIGABYTE GC-WBAX210||Wi-Fi 6E (Tri-Band)||5.2||Magnetized base flexible AORUS Antenna|
|Ziyituod Intel AX210 PCIe Wi-Fi Card||Wi-Fi 6E (Tri-Band)||5.2||2 Fixed antennas (6 Dbi)|
|TP-Link Archer TX3000E v2||Wi-Fi 6 (Dual-Band)||5.2||Magnetized base flexible two antennas|
|TP-Link Archer TXE75E||Wi-Fi 6E (Tri-Band)||5.3||Magnetized base flexible two antennas|
|TP-Link Archer TXE72E||Wi-Fi 6E (Tri-Band)||5.3||2 Fixed antennas|
Best Wi-Fi 6 PCIe Wi-Fi Cards
I’ve compiled a list of the top desktop Wi-Fi cards to help you make a decision. I’ve got you covered whether you want to play games, watch 4K films, or just access the internet wirelessly. As a result, these Wi-Fi network cards can also be used in a gaming PC.
All these cards are either 6 (AX) or 6E (AXE) standard Wi-Fi cards. AX Wi-Fi cards are better then older AC cards. These are compatible with Windows 10 and Windows 11. In Windows 10 Wi-Fi 6 is supported with 64 bit only. Whereas 6E is compatible with Windows 11 only.
1) TP-Link Archer TX55E
The TP-Link Archer TX55E is a powerful Wi-Fi 6 PCIe adapter that offers high-speed performance, dual-Band connectivity. It has all of the features of the Wi-Fi 6 version, such as dual-Band, 2400 Mbps speed on the 5 GHz Band and 574 Mbps speed on the 2.4 GHz Band, OFDMA, MU-MIMO antennas, and the WPA 3 Security Protocol. It comes with 2 fixed antennas. Latest Bluetooth 5.2 is inbuilt in it.
The 5 Best Wi-Fi Cards for Gaming and Budget Users
A wireless connection used to be a no-go for serious PC gamers. Even the best Wi-Fi card would be hobbled by poor connection quality, frequent dropouts, and slow speeds compared to a wired ethernet connection. But as routers and Wi-Fi technology improves, the notion that a wireless connection is inherently worse is quickly becoming outdated.
For years now, Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) has proved reliable enough for even hardcore online gaming. On top of that, the latest Wi-Fi 6 protocol (802.11ax) even has enough throughput to challenge traditional wired connections. While ethernet is still the simplest and cheapest way to go, Wi-Fi is now a compelling option for most users.
Whether you’re upgrading your current motherboard’s Wi-Fi capabilities or bringing an old one into the modern-day, we’ve got just the list for you.
Our Picks for Best Wi-Fi Card
Before we begin, note that this list is targeted at users looking to add Wi-Fi to their current motherboards or upgrade from a USB Wi-Fi adapter. If you’re building a new rig, consider a motherboard with built-in Wi-Fi instead.
As we discussed in our guide to choosing a motherboard, a PCIe Wi-Fi card will take up a PCIe slot and lane. This may limit your expansion options down the line. Furthermore, the price difference between the Wi-Fi-equipped and non-Wi-Fi versions of a motherboard is sometimes smaller than the price of a decent PCIe Wi-Fi card.
TP-Link Archer TX3000E
If you’ve bought a Wi-Fi 6 router and want the best Wi-Fi card for your online games, look no further. TP-Link’s Archer TX3000E is powered by a rock-solid Intel Wi-Fi 6 chip. It supports Wi-Fi 6’s key MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output) and orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) technologies.
OFDMA support should improve internet speeds and reduce latency when gaming, even if multiple devices are connected to the same router. Combined, these technologies give Wi-Fi 6 cards like the TX3000E up to 2402 Mbps throughput on 5 GHz, with a still-impressive 574 Mbps on 2.4 GHz.
TP-Link includes two high-gain antennas with the TX3000E, which should offer solid reception. As a bonus, the antenna base is magnetized. This lets you attach the antennas anywhere on your case for the best possible connection to your router.
As a bonus, the red heatsink looks pretty fetching too. Sure, PCIe Wi-Fi cards might not even need heatsinks, but it’s better than staring at a plain green PCB. OS-wise, the Archer TX3000E only supports Windows 10 64-bit.
EDUP PCIe Wi-Fi 6 Card
Want to add Wi-Fi 6 support to a desktop on a budget? EDUP’s PCIe WiFi6 card is a solid choice. While it may not have the brand name of the TP-Link Wi-Fi card we listed above, it packs the same high-quality Intel Wi-Fi 6 chip.
The EDUP has the complete set of Wi-Fi 6 features you’d expect, including MU-MIMO, OFDMA, and WPA3 encryption. Bluetooth 5.0 is also present. Given that it’s using the same Intel Wi-Fi 6 chipset, Wi-Fi speeds are pretty much identical to the TP-Link card. EDUP claims up to 2400 Mbps on 5 GHz and up to 600 Mbps on 2.4 GHz.
The only significant downside of the EDUP is that it doesn’t have a separate antenna mount. This won’t be an issue if your desktop has direct, unobstructed access to the router. But if it doesn’t, you won’t have the option of mounting the antennas in a better location on your case. Aftermarket antennas are an option, but if you’re going that route, you might as well just buy the TP-Link card.
There’s also a version of the EDUP PCIe Wi-Fi 6 card with a black heatsink, so you can color-coordinate it perfectly with the rest of your system. The EDUP card doesn’t just offer a choice of color, though. It comes with official drivers for Linux and Chrome OS alongside Windows 10. If you need a Wi-Fi 6 card for your Linux machine, this is it.
Asus’ PCE-AC88 is easily the Ferrari of Wi-Fi 5 cards with its standout support for 4×4 Wi-Fi. Coupled with a router with 4×4 Wi-Fi support, the PCE-AC88 can hit up to 2100 Mbps (5 GHz) and 1000 Mbps (2.4 GHz) — which are staggering speeds for a Wi-Fi 5 card. It makes the PCE-AC88 easily the best Wi-Fi 5 card for PC gaming.
Of course, not every 802.11ac router will support 4×4 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi, so it’s best to make sure yours does before you get too excited about the speeds. Still, if your home network is set up right, then the PCE-AC88 will offer speeds that rival Wi-Fi 6.
The PCE-AC88 comes with four omnidirectional antennas connected to a magnetic base for top-notch Wi-Fi reception. You’ll be able to attach the antenna base to your case or any other magnetic surface. You can also unscrew the antennas from the base and connect them directly to the back of the PCE-AC88 for a more compact setup.
The Asus PCE-AC88 is powered by an enterprise-grade Broadcom chipset, so connection quality shouldn’t be anything to worry about. The main downside aside from the cost is its lack of Bluetooth connectivity. This isn’t anything a USB Bluetooth adapter can’t fix, but it’s a sore point given the asking price. Its OS support is solid, with official support for Windows 7 and newer.
TP-Link Archer T4E
TP-Link’s Archer T4E Wi-Fi card is a no-frills 802.11ac card that will do a great job of getting your desktop connected to AC Wi-Fi. Supporting 2×2 MU-MIMO, the Archer T4E will max out at 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz Band and 300 Mpbs on the 2.4 GHz Band.
As with most of TP-Link’s 802.11ac products, the Archer T4E supports beamforming, which should help with connection quality. Like our budget Wi-Fi 6 option, the T4E doesn’t come with an external antenna base, so your desktop’s position and orientation will matter a bit more here.
We really like having external antennas for our PCIe Wi-Fi cards, but sacrifices have to be made when you’re shopping at the 30 price point. Another sacrifice is Bluetooth capabilities which the T4E lacks. As with the Asus PCE-AC88, you’ll have to get a Bluetooth USB wireless adapter if you need to connect any Bluetooth peripherals.
The TP-Link Archer T4E will also appeal to those of you building a small form factor (SFF) or HTPC, as it comes with a low-profile bracket in the box. It supports 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows XP onwards.
Welcome to the absolute budget end of the Wi-Fi card market. Need to get a computer connected to the internet wirelessly, regardless of network speed? Maybe grandma needs to get online, or you just need a temporary fix. If that’s the case, the Rosewill N300 might be the card for you.
Coming in at under 20, the N300 is cheap enough to fit any budget. Of course, you’re giving up quite a lot to hit that price point. The N300 only supports Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, with maximum speeds of 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and no 5 GHz Band. This definitely isn’t the card you want for online gaming.
Bluetooth is also out of the question, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. As you might expect with a Wi-Fi 4 card, the N300 supports Windows XP all the way up to Windows 10. Sure, there are many better cards on the market right now, but few are this cheap. If you absolutely can’t or won’t spend more than 20 on a PCIe Wi-Fi card, this is the product to go for.
How to Choose the Best Wi-Fi Card
Picking the best Wi-Fi card for you doesn’t have to be complicated, and any of the cards listed here will do a great job. Still, it’s always good to know what specs and features to look out for.
This is the most important spec to be aware of when shopping for a Wi-Fi card. Generally speaking, you want to get a Wi-Fi card that supports or exceeds the protocol that your router supports. There’s no performance penalty, nor are there any compatibility issues. If you’re thinking of getting a new Wi-Fi 6 router down the line, go ahead and get a Wi-Fi 6 card now. It’ll save you from having to open your PC up again once you get the new router.
However, getting a Wi-Fi 5 card to use with a Wi-Fi 6 router will limit your performance to Wi-Fi 5 speeds. That leaves a lot of bandwidth on the table and will be a waste of your powerful Wi-Fi 6 router. So it’s essential to make sure the Wi-Fi card you buy supports the Wi-Fi standards your router uses.
Another useful spec to look at is the Wi-Fi frequency bands that the card supports. Wi-Fi operates on two bands, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. 2.4 GHz is slower, but the signals travel further and through thicker walls. 5 GHz is faster but has a limited wireless range.
5 GHz is also less congested, which might help with wireless signal quality. The 2.4 GHz spectrum is used by household appliances too, which will result in more interference. Unless you live in a huge house, 5 GHz is almost always the better option.
If you have a dual-Band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) router, make sure your Wi-Fi card supports both bands as well.
Asus PCE-AC88 antenna base. Source: Blacktubi
When it comes to antennas, quantity isn’t necessarily the most critical factor to consider. How the antennas connect to the card is more important. Does it have a movable base, or do the antennas connect directly to the card?
We like cards with movable antenna bases, as you can position the antennas for better Wi-Fi reception. It’ll help with Bluetooth connectivity, too, as having a clear line of sight between the antenna and your Bluetooth peripherals will improve connection quality.
If you’re a Windows 10 user, you won’t really have to worry about OS support. Almost any PCIe Wi-Fi card released within the past few years will natively support Microsoft’s latest operating system or have updated drivers available on the website. Users of older Windows versions might have issues with Wi-Fi 6 cards, though, as most of them seem to only officially support Windows 10 64-bit.
It’s even more challenging if you’re a Linux user. Official support for Linux seems pretty rare; of the Wi-Fi cards on our list, only the EDUP Wi-Fi 6 card officially supports Linux and Chrome OS out of the box. According to their website, Asus’ PCE-AX3000 also seems to support Linux, albeit only distros with Kernel 5.1 and above.
With Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, wireless internet has shed its bad reputation and become an essential part of any PC build, gaming or otherwise. An Ethernet cable might still be the gold standard, but a high-speed wireless connection is now the norm.
All the Wi-Fi cards we’ve listed will do a great job of adding Wi-Fi capabilities to your desktop rig. We like the TP-Link Archer TX3000E the most because of its Wi-Fi 6 support and TP-Link’s proven track record in networking products. But, really, you can’t really go wrong with any of these choices. As long as the Wi-Fi card you choose supports the Wi-Fi standard of your router, you’re set.