[SOLVED] Getting a WiFi motherboard or getting a WiFi card?

Jan 2, 2021
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I have questions about this because I am looking to buy an ATX motherboard for a Ryzen 3 3300X under $120. I have heard differing opinions about whether a motherboard with WiFi is better than a PCIe WiFi card attached to a non-wifi motherboard. Which option is cheaper? Which option is better for internet connection/speed? Is it more worth it to buy a motherboard with WiFi or a motherboard without WiFi and a WiFi card?
Some boards I am looking at include the B450 Pro4 and the B450 Aorus Wifi. I already know that the B550 is more upgrade compatible, that is not my concern right now.
 

OrlyP

Great
Aug 20, 2020
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There's more things to look out for on a motherboard than just whether it has built-in WiFi or not. Things like VRM quality, chipset, number of PCIe slots and memory slots, form factor, etc etc.

If you can find a board with integrated WiFi/BT that satisfies your above needs, go for it. But if none of the boards you found have built-in wireless, you can still consider them for what they can do and then just get a PCIe WiFi/BT card, like the one your referenced. Just be mindful that it will use up one PCIe slot and one USB2.0 header (for BT).

802.11AC is the minimum standard now for these boards. For future-proofing, you can also consider 802.11AX (WiFi 6).

Personally, I never had a desktop PC connect via WiFi. I'm partial towards hard-wiring the LAN for any computer other than a laptop.
 

Math Geek

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i have the b450 aorus pro wifi and will likely upgrade the chip soon.

it is an older wifi/bluetooth chip with bt 4 and not bt5 and the wifi is not that great. it is adequate if you have a slower speed connection but it won't handle much more than about 500 mb/s connection.

if you're below that and don't need the bluetooth 5 spec, then it is fine. otherwise you'll quickly want to upgrade as i am going to so i can have bt 5 and better wifi. look at price difference to buying a separate card vs the wifi mobo. that should help decide. other than the lackluster wifi card, the rest of the mobo is real nice. i bought a second one when i built a 3600x system after the 3700x i originally bought it for.
 

OrlyP

Great
Aug 20, 2020
101
16
95
4
There's more things to look out for on a motherboard than just whether it has built-in WiFi or not. Things like VRM quality, chipset, number of PCIe slots and memory slots, form factor, etc etc.

If you can find a board with integrated WiFi/BT that satisfies your above needs, go for it. But if none of the boards you found have built-in wireless, you can still consider them for what they can do and then just get a PCIe WiFi/BT card, like the one your referenced. Just be mindful that it will use up one PCIe slot and one USB2.0 header (for BT).

802.11AC is the minimum standard now for these boards. For future-proofing, you can also consider 802.11AX (WiFi 6).

Personally, I never had a desktop PC connect via WiFi. I'm partial towards hard-wiring the LAN for any computer other than a laptop.
 

madmatt30

Titan
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So in your opinion, it's better to get a non-wifi motherboard and a wifi card?
I would say it depends on budget and availability.

At the minute with the b450 auros pro WiFi going for $120 it's a good value board.

The pro 4 and a wifi card will cost about the same.

In that instant I'd probably go with the board with built in WiFi just for the fact it's less hassle

I personally would steer clear of usb wifi adapters, I've had nothing but trouble with them and pci express cards are way more reliable.
 

Math Geek

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yah i wouldn't say it's better either way myself. i just tried to give the pros and cons of either choice based on personal experience.

but i would not say that usb dongles should be avoided. i have used many of them, and so long as you don't try to cheap out, they run fine. i have bought many of the one i linked to for myself and for clients and never had anyone complain about them. i have a gb connection and that dongle easily handles that connection no problem. i see 800 mb/s on the 5 ghz side of it for the 2 pc's close enough to it.

what i do suggest people avoid are those pcie cards that have the antennas right off the card. i prefer ones where the antenna can be moved at least to the top of the case. problem is people often have their case under the desk and those antennas get tucked back surrounded by all those wies and cables and can often have problems getting a good signal. there is a reason a car antenna is not under the car!!

in the same room as the router only 10 ft away, you likely get along fine, but 2 rooms away through walls and such, it can be a problem. so i suggest you get something that allows you to get that antenna up in the air some no matter what you chose. 2 pc's that are across the house from the router have the dongle on a usb extender sitting up nice and high and they have no problems at all. plug them in directly and have them sit low and they start losing signal like every one else see. raise it up a bit and no problem.
 

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