which one is better for my pc

Today most mid-high range desktop computers incorporate a WiFi card on the motherboard, this WiFi card is internal but its antennas are external, in fact, many motherboards provide an antenna base to maximize the received coverage . In the case of laptops, they all have a PCIe Wi-Fi card attached on board, and internal antennas that run along the bottom of the laptop to maximize wireless coverage. What kind of WiFi cards are best for my PC? The external ones or the internal ones? Next, we are going to explain in which cases one or the other is worth it.

WiFi cards in desktop computers

In desktop computers we have two possibilities to have WiFi connectivity, the first one is with a WiFi PCIe card connected directly to the motherboard. The second option is to buy a USB WiFi adapter and connect it without having to disassemble the PC.

If you decide for buy a WiFi PCIe card connected directly to the board, you must take into account the following:

  • You must have some knowledge to disassemble your PC, plug the card into an available PCIe port, and install the corresponding drivers.
  • If the WiFi card does not have an antenna base to place the external antennas on top of a table, and you have the PC boxed in, then you will receive poor coverage. It is something that you must take into account. Today most high-end WiFi PCIe cards have antenna bases.
  • You are going to get great wireless speeds, easily reaching over 1000Mbps real.

In the case of buy a WiFi USB cardthen you must take into account the following:

  • Installation is as simple as connecting it to a USB port, it generally automatically recognizes the card and we don’t have to install the drivers ourselves.
  • It is important to place the adapter in one of the USB ports on the front of the box, to have the best possible reception.
  • Depending on the card model, you will get higher performance, but it will almost always be lower than a PCIe with the same characteristics.

As you can see, each option has its strengths and weaknesses. In our opinion, we believe that internal PCIe WiFi cards are the best option, both for performance and reception (as long as the antennas are not boxed and there are as few obstacles as possible).

WiFi cards in laptops

In the case of laptops, all of them already incorporate an internal PCI card with internal antennas. In the case of wanting to update the WiFi network of our laptop, we have two options: replace the already integrated PCIe card, or put a USB WiFi adapter.

In this case with laptops, disassembling a laptop is not within everyone’s reach, in many cases it is really complicated because we must remove too many components before accessing where the WiFi card is connected. In the event that you can disassemble it, you must take into account the following before replacing it:

  • The WiFi card that we buy to replace, must use the same PCIe port as aboveso we must respect both the PCIe standard and the number of data lanes, which are normally 2 or 4 in the case of WiFi cards.
  • These cards can have UFL connectors for internal antennasbut if they are soldered directly to the card, then you will have to remove the solder, replace the card and then re-solder the antennas, a rather complicated task.
  • The new card you put in must have the same number of antennas as the previous one, usually we have 1 or 2 antennas. If we buy a card with fewer antennas than the previous one, we will get less WiFi coverage and half the speed, so it is not recommended.

For example, we have replaced in our Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop from 2015 the WiFi card Intel AC7265 that came, first we changed it to the Intel AX200 which also had two antennas, and later we changed this Intel AX200 to the Intel AX210 model. All of these cards use UFL connectors for the antennas and have two drives.

In the case of buying a WiFi USB card, you must take into account the above that we explained to you in desktop computers, but in addition, you should also assess its size, because you will be connecting it to your laptop almost constantly to have high-performance Wi-Fi connectivity. The smaller the Wi-Fi cards, the less real speed we will achieve because there are fewer antennas and less reception.

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