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Best PCIe Wireless Adapters 2020 Detailed Review

Best PCIe Wireless Adapters 2020 Detailed Review.

Best PCIe Wireless Adapters: Wireless adapters aren’t just routers, shoved inside of desktop computers. They’re a means of extending your wireless network to a broader area, of affecting control over your network and expanding network reception 

Overview 

With the right adapter, your options can remain wide open. Some wireless adapters ask you to choose between convenience and efficiency, but more often than not, you can have both. 

ASUS 4×4 AC3100 PCIe Adapter (PCE-AC88)

ASUS 4×4 AC3100 PCIe Adapter (PCE-AC88) 

The ASUS PCE-AC88 4×4 is an AC3100 PCIe Adapter, intended to be an all-in-one kit. It includes not only the wireless adapter card, but a fairly formidable set of external antennas.

These dual-band antennas can transmit signals with processing speeds of 2100 Mbps on the 5GHz band, and an additional 1000 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. It would be safe to call this equipment future-proofed, especially relative to average American network speeds. 

The use of R-SMA antenna connectors makes it possible to connect this card with almost any aftermarket antenna. And MU-MIMO support means you can support four high bandwidth connections, and still end up with pretty smooth streaming. 

Build & Design 

The PCIe adapter itself looks like almost any other PCIe card, though it’s covered in heatsinks and painted bright red. Like any other adapter, the ASUS 4×4 will start to heat-up when placed under heavy computational load.

Its customized heatsink is excellent at dissipating heat, provided that your case is reasonably cool, to begin with. If your case runs warm, then the heatsink will do very little for you. 

TP-Link Archer T9E AC1900 

TP-Link Archer T9E AC1900 

TP-Link is among the more respected names in networking equipment. And the TP-Link Archer T9E AC1900 is sure to be among the most straightforward network adapters on the market. 

That’s not to say it doesn’t have power. It uses the same modern beamforming technologies as the ASUS adapter and is capable of providing support for bandwidth in the neighborhood of 1900 Mbps. 

Build & Design 

The T9E measures 4.5 x 4.8 x 0.8-inches, making it about as small and compact as any PCIe card. At the end of the card, there are three adjustable antennas attached.

Each can be adjusted in a range of about 90-degrees. But because these antennas are attached to the card, it can be tricky for them to work effectively unless the PC you’re using is in a good place to broadcast your network signal. 

Rosewill AC1300 WiFi Adapter

Rosewill AC1300 WiFi Adapter

 

Rosewill has few fans. It could be because their equipment never tries to be the very best. They don’t try to make the best keyboards or the best Wi-Fi adapters, only competent devices at reasonable prices. That’s essentially what you can expect from the Rosewill AC1300 WiFi Adapter. 

Most people don’t need multi-gigabit adapters. The average internet user in the United States enjoys about 100 Mbps. That means for most people in most circumstances, there’s really nothing wrong with selecting an adapter that can provide anything over one gigabit of bandwidth. 

The AC1300 is capable of drawing 867 Mbps from the 5 GHz band, and an additional 400 Mbps from the 2.4 GHz band. Combine those figures together and round up. You end up with the AC1300. 

Build & Design 

This adapter measures 4.5 x 4.8 x 0.85-inches. It includes two antennas, which can be detached and replaced with aftermarket antennas. And like the other adapters on this list, the antennas can be fully rotated for multi-directional coverage. The included antennas have terribly average performance. They’re good for sending out a Wi-Fi signal about 30 feet. 

The Rosewill AC1300 WiFi Adapter uses a bright red aluminum heat sink, similar to the ASUS AC3100. Rosewill’s looks more generic, but it does an equally effective job at dissipating heat. And that’s really the theme of this adapter. 

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Final Thoughts

The ASUS 4×4 AC3100 is the most powerful adapter on this list. It can handle about three gigabits of bandwidth, spread across four antennas, positioned anywhere you want. It’s a great choice for someone who expects several high bandwidth connections on their network, and someone who wants strong antennas packaged with their adapter. 

The TP-Link Archer T9E AC1900 has three antenna ports instead of four. That number of antennas is proportional to its slightly lower bandwidth capabilities. For people who are looking for a card that can handle something in the neighborhood of two gigabits of bandwidth, the T9E AC1900 is ideal. It’s great if you want power similar to the ASUS AC3100, but you don’t want to bother with using a separate antenna station. 

Finally, there’s the Rosewill AC1300 WiFi Adapter. Aiming for the middle isn’t right for everyone, it’s certainly not as exciting as getting a top-of-the-line adapter. But the simple truth is this. For most people in most circumstances, the Rosewill AC1300 will perform just as well as the far-more-expensive ASUS AC3100. Unless you have reason to believe 1300 Mbps isn’t going to cut it for your network, the AC1300 is worth picking up.