Some desktop PCs have poor connectivity options because they do not have a built-in Wi-Fi card or the Wi-Fi adapter is not compatible with the latest Wi-Fi speeds. Sometimes the card integrated is damaged and it is easier to get a PCIe card than to replace the whole motherboard..
Modern Wi-Fi cards have dual-band capability to operate on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands while extending the Wi-Fi range of the PC. These cards offer fast Wi-Fi speeds to support the latest games, and some include Bluetooth connectivity.
Most of the cards in this list are compatible with the Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard, which offers the capability of MU-MIMO (Multi-User-Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) and OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access). These technologies improve connectivity, especially when there are many devices on the network..
While Wi-Fi 6 is widely used on modern devices, Wi-Fi 6E is already on the way. Wi-Fi 6E has all the capabilities of Wi-Fi 6, but it allows 6 GHz, a faster network band. While few devices currently use Wi-Fi 6E, the new standard is expected to take off and deliver faster speeds to users.
Best Wi-Fi card
TP-Link Archer TX3000E
The TP-Link's Archer TX3000E is a dual band Wi-Fi 6 card that fits most desktop PCs. It operates on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and has Bluetooth 5 functionality..
The main advantage of this Wi-Fi card is the high speeds it can achieve. This card achieves speeds of up to 2.4Gbps on the 5GHz band and up to 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. Bluetooth 5.0 capability is included in the Archer TX3000E and reaches up to 2Mbps.
Some Wi-Fi cards go out of their way to look good and just be functional. The Archer TX3000E goes against this trend by offering an eye-catching design. The red heat sink can appeal to those who like to show off their installation. Instead of having antennas connected directly to the board, the Archer TX3000E has two multidirectional antennas that sit on a magnetic triangular base. The base is connected to the PC by cables. This configuration gives users the option of relocating the antenna for better reception or mounting them on their PC.
If you want to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 speeds, the Archer TX3000E is a great choice because it achieves maximum Wi-Fi 6 speeds and looks great. TP-Link's Archer TX3000E is also affordable and has the added benefit of Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.
Best high-end Wi-Fi card
Asus AX3000 (Pce-AX58BT)
The Asus AX3000 was the first commercially available Wi-Fi 6 card, and it shares many features of the Archer TX3000E, such as fast speeds and Bluetooth 5 capability.
Like the Archer TX3000E, the AX3000 is a dual-band card operating on the 2.4Ghz band and the 5Ghz band. The speeds of the two cards are similar, with the AX3000 reaching 2.4Gbps on the 5Ghz band and up to 600Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band. The AX3000's Bluetooth 5 speed is also 2Mbps.
Asus and TP-Link took a similar approach when designing these Wi-Fi cards. The AX3000 resembles the Archer TX3000E by having a large heatsink on the card and two antennas on a triangular base. The only differences are that the heat sink on the AX3000 card is black instead of red, and the base of the antennas has a cutout in the center.
While the AX3000 can compete with the Archer TX3000E in most areas, it is penalized by a crucial factor. The card from Asus is significantly more expensive than the Archer TX3000E despite similar performance.
Best mid-range Wi-Fi card
TP-Link AC1200 (Archer T5E)
Users who don't need the fastest speeds and want to spend less can consider the TP-Link Archer T5E. This TP-Link card works on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and has bluetooth function.
Compared to the other Wi-Fi cards mentioned so far, the Archer T5E has slightly lower speeds. Its maximum speed is 300 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and reaches 867 Mbps on the 5GHz band. The Archer T5E also has slower Bluetooth 4.2 speeds of 1.2 Mbps.
As expected at this price, the Archer T5E has a basic design. There is no heatsink or fancy antennas like on the Archer TX3000E or AX3000. Instead, the Archer T5E has a basic design with a chip and two built-in antennas.
The slower speeds of the Archer T5E inhibit its capabilities and may be a disadvantage for some users. The card may be suitable for some competitive games, but it struggles with installation files and larger game updates.
Best budget Wi-Fi card
Ubit WiFi Card
The Ubit 1200Mbps AC Bluetooth WiFi Adapter is not designed to provide the best speeds or performance. It is designed to provide a low cost option for users on a budget. In this regard, it succeeds in providing a viable option for gamers who need connectivity at the lowest possible price.
Despite its lower price, the Ubit card has speeds similar to the Archer T5E. Ubit and TP-Link cards have maximum speeds of 867Mbps on the 5GHz band and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. Both cards also feature Bluetooth 4.2 with a speed of 1Mbps.
Like the Archer T5E, the Ubit card has a basic design. There is no heat sink, and the two antennas mount directly to the board.
It's hard to complain about the shortcomings of this Wi-Fi card considering the price. It equals the Archer T5E in terms of performance, but it costs a lot less because Ubit is not a known brand, and the quality of the card may not be at the same level.
The best Wi-Fi card that will stand the test of time
OKN WiFi 6E AX210
The latest Wi-Fi 6E standard has yet to be adopted, but companies have already started producing compatible devices. Fenvi's Wifi-6 E AX210 card is one of the first cards available to meet the new standard, but there aren't many devices that support it. This card uses Intel's latest AX210 to deliver some of the fastest possible Wi-Fi speeds.
Although there aren't many compatible routers and modems, the Fenvi AX210 card is interesting for users looking for a degree of security for the future. As this card is tri-band and works on the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands, it is backwards compatible with older devices.
Like the Archer TX3000E and AX3000, the Fenvi AX210 has fast Wi-Fi 6 speeds. It reaches 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2.4Gbps on the 5GHz band. But where this card shines is on the new 6GHz band, where it hits speeds of up to 5.4Gbps.
Despite its incredible performance, the Fenvi is crippled by the lack of compatible devices. Therefore, it cannot perform to its full potential as the Wi-Fi ecosystem has yet to catch up and has yet to get used to Wi-Fi 6. However, the Fenvi AX210 remains a viable option due to its competitive price and backward compatibility.
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