If you finally decided to ditch the traditional Ethernet cables and take the next step into the modern era of connectivity, you need to buy a PCIe Wi-Fi card. Wireless connections are becoming more popular every day, and we are becoming dependent on them as well. There is no denying that you need the best wireless internet connection possible, from streaming content to sharing photos to online gaming.
Most motherboards feature built-in Wi-Fi, but they aren’t adequate with poor connections and lower speeds. And with Ethernet cables, you can experience distortion or signal loss, which is far from ideal.
Luckily we have a solution…
One of the most significant ways to improve connectivity is to invest in the Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card. They are affordable and come with a wide range of options. Unfortunately, too many options can easily throw you off track and create confusion.
So, let’s go through the best-rated PCIe Wi-Fi cards currently on the market and find the perfect one for you…
- 1 Top 7 Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card In 2021 Reviews
- 1.1 1 TP-Link AC1200 (Archer T4E) – Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card for Gaming
- 1.2 2 ASUS AX3000 PCE-AX58BT – Best Value PCIe Wi-Fi Card for the Money
- 1.3 3 TP-Link Archer TX3000E – Best TP-Link PCIe Wi-Fi Card
- 1.4 4 ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 – Best Premium PCIe Wi-Fi Card
- 1.5 5 Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I – Best Budget PCIe Wi-Fi Card
- 1.6 6 TP-Link WDN4800 – Best Mid Range PCIe Wi-Fi Card
- 1.7 7 ROSEWILL RNX-AC1900PCEv2 – Best Rated PCIe Wi-Fi Card
- 2 Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card Buying Guide
- 3 Looking For More Wi-Fi Options?
- 4 Which Is The Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card?
Top 7 Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card In 2021 Reviews
1 TP-Link AC1200 (Archer T4E) – Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card for Gaming
If you want to buy the best Wi-Fi adapter for gaming, the TP-Link AC1200 is a suitable choice. Performance, long-range coverage, and an affordable price are three of the main traits when buying a PCIe Wi-Fi card, and the AC1200 has all three.
Offering acceptable speeds up to 1200Mbps, you can use the 2.4GHz band for sending emails and browsing and leave the 5GHz band free for streaming, gaming, and other bandwidth-intensive operations.
The beamforming technology provides excellent coverage since it focuses on wireless fidelity signals towards paired devices, boosting a range of stable connections.
Important to keep it cool…
Like any other wireless adapter, the AC1200 will heat up under heavy operations, so you want to keep it cool since it improves the card’s performance and lifespan. It does have a heatsink that helps to a certain extent, but even so, you might want to consider other cooling options as well. The TP-Link AC1200 has two external antennas that use smart wireless technology for boosting coverage and improves stability.
It also follows advanced security standards ensuring your data remains safe from intruders. It’s compatible with Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.5, and 10. Apart from the standard brackets, it includes low-profile brackets that fit mini-tower cases. The AC1200 has a two-year warranty, and should you have any queries or issues; you can contact TP-Links technical support team 24/7.
If you want a PCIe Wi-Fi card that lasts and provides good coverage, you should buy the TP-Link AC1200. The heatsink could be better, but it still helps. The antennas are pretty impressive and make the TP-Link AC1200 well suited for online gaming and video streaming. And the antenna’s flexibility ensures a broader coverage.
- Beamforming for improved coverage.
- Is equipped with a heatsink.
- External antennas offer better signals.
- Can encounter inconsistent network coverage issues.
- Heatsink could be better.
2 ASUS AX3000 PCE-AX58BT – Best Value PCIe Wi-Fi Card for the Money
Wi-Fi 6 or 802.11ax is the latest standard that changed wireless networks, both for consumers and businesses. If you want to buy a card that takes full advantage of the Wi-Fi 6, consider the ASUS PCE-AX58BT.
Impressive speed and Bluetooth 5.0…
Not only does it have ultrafast Wi-Fi speed, maxing out at 3000Mbps. Using Wi-Fi 6, you can reach 2402Mbps on the 5Ghz band and 575Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. To impress even more, it also has Bluetooth 5.0, allowing you to connect to all your Bluetooth devices with two times faster transmission speed and four times greater range. The PCE-AX58BT is a modern card that supports almost everything new with Wi-Fi.
The two external antennas use OFDMA and MU-MIMO. When working together, the two technologies enable more efficient, stable, and faster transmissions even if multiple devices are sending data simultaneously. The OFDMA also reduces lag, so you can enjoy fast real-time gaming. The external antenna base allows you to position and optimizes your network’s coverage and reception, reducing dead zones.
Fine crafting for excellent performance…
The built-in specialized heatsink is crafted to improve stability and reliability in hot environments. ASUS paid attention to every detail, such as plating every contactor with gold to resist oxidation and give you a superior network experience.
It also follows the WPA3 security standard for increased security, so you can relax and don’t have to worry about any intruders or external attacks. The only downside may be that it’s only compatible with Windows 10 64-bit, so if you use an older version of Windows or the 32-bit version, it’s time to upgrade!
The ASUS PCE-AX58BT is a PCIe card suitable for anyone who has a wireless router using Wi-Fi 6 and wants fast wireless network connections. The performance is breathtaking, and it transforms your PC with incredible wireless speeds. Equipped with OFDMA and MU-MIMO, WPA3 security, and Bluetooth 5.0, it genuinely future proofs your PC for many years to come.
- Supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
- Excellent speed.
- Easy to install in standard desktops and small cases.
- The drivers receive regular updates and improvements.
- No drivers for Linux or macOS.
- More expensive than many other PCIe wireless cards.
3 TP-Link Archer TX3000E – Best TP-Link PCIe Wi-Fi Card
The TP-Link Archer TX3000E takes advantage of Wi-Fi 6, providing your network with speeds up to 2.4Gbps on the 5GHz bandwidth. Wi-Fi 6 also ensures a low-latency and stable connection. Including all the features you need to future proof your network and designed to shine in busy networks for next-level entertainment, the Archer TX3000E is an excellent PCIe Wi-Fi card.
Experience lag-free online gaming…
Utilizing MU-MIMO and OFDMA, the two multi-directional antennas combined with Wi-Fi 6 makes it a perfect solution for lag-free online gaming or a mesmerizing VR experience. You also receive a broader coverage since you can place the magnetized antenna base away from your PC using the 1m RF coaxial cable to optimize and extend your Wi-Fi reception capabilities. If you want to place it further away, extension cables are available.
But wait, there’s more…
Bluetooth 5 allows you to connect as many devices as you want while still providing faster transmission speed and broader coverage. Another nice detail is the gold-plated contacts that increase connectivity and resist oxidation.
The card is easy to install using the low-profile brackets and fits in any case. But like the ASUS PCE-AX58BT, it’s only compatible with Windows 10 64-bit version, and you are required to install drivers.
The TP-Link Archer TX3000E is an excellent choice for gamers and anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 at a reasonable price. High performance combined with high-speed and two multi-directional external antennas make the TX3000E one of our favorite PCIe Wi-Fi cards.
The Bluetooth feature is a great add-on improving connections to headsets, microphones, and other devices, provided they support Bluetooth.
- Reasonable price.
- Bluetooth 5.0.
- Two multi-directional antennas.
- MU-MIMO and OFDMA technology.
- Perfect for online gaming.
- Drivers required for Windows 10.
- Reduced speeds if your network doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6.
4 ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 – Best Premium PCIe Wi-Fi Card
If your system lacks superfast Wi-Fi, the ASUS PCIe AC3100 adapter is an excellent option. It’s what we refer to as an all-in-one PCIe adapter. It doesn’t only include a wireless adapter card but also consists of powerful external antennas.
Impressive dual-band antennas…
The dual-band antennas provide top-notch coverage and allow you to enjoy speeds of up to 3.1Gbps (2100Mbps on 5 GHz and 1000Mbps on 2.4 GHz). Even though it boasts a higher price tag than many PCIe Wi-Fi cards, it’s worth the investment. You can attach each antenna directly to the PCIe card for improved performance and a compact setup.
The ASUS AC3100 features R-SMA connectors, making it possible to connect it with almost every antenna available. The antennas use MU-MIMO technology and support four high bandwidth connections.
As for the build and design…
The AC3100 looks similar to any other PCIe Wi-Fi card, except it boasts a bright red finish and is covered in heatsinks. All cards heat up under heavy usage, but the heatsinks effectively deplete the heat for better reliability and performance.
The PCIe Wi-Fi card is compatible with Windows 7 and 10 but requires the 64-bit version. The AC1300 can withstand temperatures up to 105°F, so don’t use it if it’s warmer than that. It includes a low-profile bracket, which is useful if you want to install the card in mini form factor cases. The card also comes with a 1-year warranty.
With the flexible antenna placement and unmatched speeds, it’s hard to find a better card than the ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100. Not only does it include extension cables and detachable antennas, but its 4×4 adapter technology is 60% faster than 3×3 connections. Overall, it’s one of the most superior PCIe Wi-Fi cards we tested.
- External magnetic antenna base.
- Dual-band 4×4 AC3100 Wi-Fi.
- It’s covered with heatsinks.
- Flexible antenna placements.
- Connected devices need to be 802 compatible.
- External networking factors can reduce performance.
5 Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I – Best Budget PCIe Wi-Fi Card
If you want to upgrade your PC with an adequate Wi-Fi standard and wish to utilize Bluetooth technology without paying a fortune, the Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I might be the PCIe wireless card you need.
It uses Wi-Fi 5 and is capable of speeds up to 867Mbps. It utilizes dual bandwidth, ensuring a stable and robust connection. The GC-WB867D-I is equipped with Bluetooth 4.2. Even though it doesn’t have the same transmission speed or range as Bluetooth 5, it’s still three times faster than the previous Bluetooth technology and enough for most users. To utilize Bluetooth, you need to connect the card to your system via the USB port.
That’s not all…
The PCIe Wi-Fi card is easy to install on your computer, all you need is a free PCIe slot on your motherboard, and you are set. The GC-WB867D-I includes a portable antenna, which offers excellent flexibility in placements to find the optimal signal quality. The antenna is quite powerful so that you can enjoy a strong signal with great coverage.
The magnetic antenna base makes it possible to attach the antenna to any metal surface for additional placement options. The antenna also powers the Bluetooth, so you don’t have to worry about being close enough for pairing. The Gigabyte GC-WB867D has a 1-year warranty, and Gigabyte will replace it if it malfunctions.
Low cost and good performance are two keystones that will appeal to almost everyone. But honestly, very few products today combine the two. The Gigabyte GC-WB867D-I offers an adequate speed, along with a flexible movable antenna. Coverage is good, and the design of the GC-WB867D-I is more compact than most PCIe Wi-Fi cards, making installation easier and adding to its appeal.
- Easy to install.
- Bluetooth connectivity.
- Good coverage with a single external antenna.
- Adequate speed up to 867Mbps.
- Needs a USB connection to power the Bluetooth.
- Requires USB 2.0 header on the motherboard.
- Requires Qualcomm Bluetooth driver.
6 TP-Link WDN4800 – Best Mid Range PCIe Wi-Fi Card
Next in our Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card reviews, we have another budget-friendly option, the TP-Link WDN4800. Although cheaper than most available cards, it still offers some significant features. The connection is stable, which is characterized by uninterrupted browsing, downloads, and HD streaming.
It supports dual-bandwidth Wi-Fi and the 802.11n/g/b/a standard. It can reach a speed of 450Mbps on both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. To improve the performance, you need to update your router to the latest USB printer controllers and firmware versions.
Compatible with all Windows versions…
The WDN4800 is compatible with all Windows versions, including the 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 10. It’s also suitable for online gaming and UDH video streaming.
Installing and setting up the device is pretty straightforward even though it includes some complicated steps, but the instruction CD is helpful and includes all drivers. It has three multi-directional antennas for enhanced stability and wireless performance. Should you face any issue with the WDN4800, the 24/7 technical support can assist you, and it comes with a two-year warranty.
Even though the TP-Link WDN4800 is far from the fastest PCIe Wi-Fi card in our review, it still provides reliable performance. TP-Link is known for setting benchmarks in the industry with its utmost devotion to quality and perfection. And the TP-Link WDN4800 might not be perfect, but it has outstanding quality and will last for years.
The compatibility is excellent, and the speed is OK. Plus, the speed is actually enough to ensure a good gaming experience.
- High-transmission data sharing speed.
- Suitable for online gaming.
- Adjustable antennas.
- Great compatibility.
- Installation includes some complicated steps.
- A higher relative cost.
7 ROSEWILL RNX-AC1900PCEv2 – Best Rated PCIe Wi-Fi Card
The ROSEWILL RNX-AC1900PCEv2 is a great device for high-performance gamers and live streaming users. If you’re not keen on spending too much for a PCI-e wireless card without losing too much performance, this is your best option.
The device has a reasonable price and offers good coverage for your internet connectivity. Its speed reaches 1300Mbps on the 5GHz range and up to 600 Mbps at the 2.4 GHz range. The RNX-AC1900PCEv2 is suitable for HD video streaming as well as gaming.
Four detachable antennas with beamforming technology…
The four antennas can be detached, and since they are multi-directional, they can be placed in any direction you want for enhanced signals. They use Beamforming for added coverage.
Unfortunately, the RNX-AC1900PCEv2 doesn’t have an external base, so the antennas aren’t as flexible as on several other models in this review. Instead, the PCIe wireless card works on several Windows versions, making it a good choice for many users.
If you are using Windows 10, there is a chance that the drivers can crash. If that happens, you are in a tricky situation since you can’t update the device without drivers. Sure, you can keep re-installing them but doing that several times per day isn’t ideal. Another downside is the Rosewill software. It’s slow. With that said, if you are using Windows XP, 7, 8, actually any other version than 10, it works great.
The Rosewill RNX-AC1900PCEv2 is a budget-friendly option with a performance that improves any network. It’s a device suited for high-performance gamers and live streaming users. It’s quick even though the software isn’t. It works exceptionally on every operating system except Windows 10. If you are using Windows 10, you should opt for another PCIe Wi-Fi card, and we have provided some excellent options.
- Adapter performs quickly.
- Simple to install.
- Dual-band Wi-Fi for good speeds.
- Suitable for gaming and HD streaming.
- It’s not recommended for Windows 10.
Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card Buying Guide
To find the right PCIe Wi-Fi card, you will need to know a few things in advance. You need to choose the right card, so you don’t end up disappointed or with a card that sucks. So, let’s go through them…
How Many Antennas?
All wireless PCIe cards have at least one antenna. Some have antennas attached to a base, and some have external antennas that only connect to the card. So how many antennas do you need? The bottom line is the more antennas, the better. Having a card with four antennas will carry more data since each antenna connected to your dual-band PCIe card is its own network, and every antenna carries its own level of data.
Quality Of The Antennas
It’s not just a matter of how many antennas you have when choosing a PCIe Wi-Fi card. You also need to look at the quality of the antenna. Here size matters, so pay attention to the size of the tubes. The size determines the capacity and the range.
Some antennas have added features like MU-MIMO and OFDMA. These antennas provide better coverage and enhance efficiency, stability, and transmission speeds. A stock antenna won’t be that impressive, but some cards allow you to replace the antennas. The antennas must be easy to move to let you find the optimal signal levels.
The Speed Of The Card
Consider how fast you want your PCIe Wi-Fi card to be. This calculation should consider the entire network and not only the card itself. Most cards today have reasonable speeds, even on the lower end of the price scale.
If you want the fastest possible PCIe wireless card, keep this in mind when comparing different cards. You will pay more for a faster card.
What Operating System?
Most modern PCIe Wi-Fi adapters will work on computers with Windows 7, 8, and Windows 10. But what happens if you have a Mac or a Linux or an older Windows version?
Check the specifications on the packages or from the manufacturer’s websites. Most will have the information in the descriptions. If you don’t do this, you might buy a card that doesn’t support your operating system.
Cooling Of The PCIe Card
Wireless PCIe cards heat up quickly, and if they don’t reduce heat in an efficient way or your cooling isn’t good enough, they can stop working. Always check if the card you want to buy has a heatsink included, this can be very crucial.
Will The PCI Card Fit?
There are different form factors for each PC, some people have mini-ITX, and some have standard ATX. There may be a problem if you buy a bigger card and install it on a micro-ATX board. So, always make sure that the card will fit in your case and on your motherboard.
Looking For More Wi-Fi Options?
Then check out our Best Router for Charter Spectrum Reviews, our TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Review, our ASUS RT-AC88U Wireless-AC3100 Review, our Best Routers Under 100 Review, and our Best DSL Modems Review.
And for the best gaming experience, check out our Best Gaming Desks Review, our Best CPU For Gaming Review, our Best Gaming Monitor Under 100 Review, and our Best Expensive Gaming Keyboards Review. And, before you go, why not check out our review of the Best Gaming Monitors Under 200 to buy in 2021?
Which Is The Best PCIe Wi-Fi Card?
Now that we have gone through the best cards for PCIe Wi-Fi currently on the market, it’s time to choose the very best one. With speed, the flexible antennas using MU-MIMO, multiple heatsinks, etc., there is only one clear winner, and that’s the…ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100
It’s a fantastic card with speeds of up to 3.1Gbps.
If the price is a bit too much, you should opt for either the…TP-Link Archer TX3000E or the ASUS AX3000 PCE-AX58BT
Both cards are excellent. They are also cheaper than the ASUS PCE-AC88, and they both include Bluetooth as well.