So you’ve built yourself a nice PC for gaming. You have everything you need to play games and you think you’re ready to hit the gaming scene with full force. There’s just one question we have for you. How do you plan on actually connecting to the internet to play and compete online? Hah, no need to stress, you probably just overlooked this aspect but we’ve got you covered.
Usually, gamers tend to lean towards using ethernet ports, but by going through this list, you’ll realize that wifi cards can be just as good as their wired alternatives, ethernet ports/cables.
Most Laptops and PCs nowadays come with wifi cards in them already. However, if you’re building your own Gaming PC you’re going to have to look for a good one yourself. To help you connect to the internet, destroy your enemies and rise to the top of the ranks, we have curated this list of the top 7 best wifi cards for gaming in 2023. So without any further ado, let’s begin!
In a hurry? Here are our top 3 picks when it comes to the best Wi-Fi cards for gaming in 2023!
What are Wi-Fi Cards?
Okay before we get started with the list, let’s actually understand what a wifi card is and why you need it.
A wifi card, also called a wireless card, a wireless network card or adapter, is a device that allows your PC to connect to a wifi network. Using a wifi card, as both a transmitter and receiver, you can connect to and use the internet.
A point to note is that a wifi card is different from a standard USB wifi dongle. A Wi-Fi dongle looks like a pendrive and usually connects to your PC in its USB port. Whereas a wifi card is inserted in a separate PCIe slot, connecting directly to your PC’s motherboard. You need to install some required drivers in order to start using the Wifi card and then you can connect to the internet. Wifi cards use a PCIe connection and make it possible for your PC to connect to wifi naturally and efficiently. Wifi cards tend to be better than wifi dongles in terms of reliability, range, latency, and overall connectivity.
There is a popular alternative to wifi cards in the form of ethernet ports which let you connect to the internet using wires. Ethernet ports are sockets or openings on PCs where Ethernet cables are plugged in. Ethernet cables are network cables that connect your PC to a modem or router in order to connect it to the internet. Gamers have usually preferred ethernet over wireless connectivity, however, things have started to change.
You need a good wifi card to connect to the internet reliably, effortlessly, and with low latency. There is a chance that your PC already comes with a wifi card, but that one is probably basic and won’t serve you well in high-performance gaming.
Are Wi-Fi Cards Good for Gaming?
This is a question that bugs everyone’s mind. Yeah sure, wifi cards are great for streaming and all, but have these cards come long enough to replace good old ethernet ports in gaming? Are these wifi cards good for gaming? Let’s explore this question a bit.
The basic answer is, if you have good ethernet ports and cables, you should use them. For years, ethernet cables have provided a reliable connection with low latency while wifi cards have been playing catch up. Wired connections have been a faster and more secure option for people who don’t want to/can’t use wifi to connect to the internet. If however, you don’t or are having an issue with ethernet, you’ll need a WiFi card to connect your PC to the internet.
If we were to compare the two, it is true that ethernet seems like the better option. Especially since gaming requires a stable, quick connection with low latency and lag. However, with the advent of new technology and better connections, the difference between ethernet and wifi is getting smaller and smaller. While it was an issue in the past, there really isn’t a dramatic difference between the two anymore. In fact, you can get some WiFI cards that outperform ethernet connections by a mile.
Wifi cards are more convenient and easy to use, with most operating on a plug and play basis with some simple driver installation. While opening up your PC might be difficult if you’re a newbie, once the card has been installed, that’s pretty much it. It isn’t something you have to keep checking or saving from stuff.
This is in stark contrast to an ethernet connection which requires connecting cables to your devices and then handling and maintaining them.
Now, even though wifi cards have come up as a formidable foe to ethernet, it doesn’t have to be a competition. We suggest having a primary Ethernet connection, with a high-speed wifi card as backup. However, if you don’t have an ethernet connection, you should feel confident about using a WiFi card for your gaming purposes. High-speed Wi-Fi cards are indeed good for gaming.
Should I use 2.4 or 5 GHz for Gaming?
Okay, so we’ve established that wifi cards are good enough for gaming, let’s see which wavelength card you should choose.
To begin with, let’s understand what the figures 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz even mean. These numbers represent radio wavelengths or bands. Routers use these wavelengths to transmit wifi connections. Wifi technology uses radio waves to pass info from your PC to the router and vice versa.
There are two main frequencies that are used to transmit wifi connections, these are; 2.4 GHz (gigahertz) and 5 GHz. The difference between these two frequencies is in their range and speed.
In a nutshell, 2.4 GHz gets you long-range while sacrificing speed. On the other hand, 5 GHz can give you really fast speeds but to a relatively smaller area. So depending on what you value, you can go for one of those options. A smart thing to do would be getting a card/adapter with both 2.4 and 5 GHz, known as dual-band cards/adapters; these allow you to switch between the two frequencies according to your needs.
The 7 Best Wifi Cards for Gaming in 2023
1. TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000 PCIe WiFi Card – Best Overall
We’ll be kicking off our list with the TP-Link WiFI 6 AX3000 PCIe Wifi Card. This card from the renowned company TP-Link is our choice for the best wifi card you can buy in 2023. The TP-Link is a high-powered card that can reach wifi speeds up to 2.4 GB per second on 5 GHz or 574 Mbps on 2.4 GHz.
It comes with the latest wifi 6 technology which is powered by Intel. This card minimizes lag while gaming using OFDMA (orthogonal frequency-division multiple access) tech. The device uses Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity, ensuring much faster speeds than the previous generation Bluetooth 4.2.
- Data Transfer Rate: 2402 Mbps on 5 GHz or 574 Mbps on 2.4 GHz
- Operating System: Windows 10 64 bit
- Dimensions: 3.75 x 4.76 x 0.85 inches
- Hardware Interface: Bluetooth 5.0
- Wifi Standard: IEEE 802.11ax
Why is this the best wifi card for gaming in 2023?
If you’re wondering why we’ve chosen this card as the best wifi card on the market, we’ll clear that up for you. To begin with, the TP-Link WiFI 6 AX3000 PCIe Wifi Card is fast, really fast. It can go up to 2400 Mbps on a 5 GHz connection and 574 Mbps on 2.4 GHz. The device can get broader coverage with two multi-directional and high-performance antennas.
The magnetized antenna base increases your current wifi reception capability, allowing for better connectivity. Game-changing OFDMA technology will reduce any lag you experience, ensuring a super-fast gaming experience.
2. ASUS PCE-AC88 Dual-Band 4×4 AC3100 WiFi PCIe adapter – Premium Pick
Second on our list is our premium pick of this lot, which is the ASUS PCE-AC88 Dual-Band 4×4 AC3100 Wifi PCIe adapter. This device is for people who don’t mind spending a little extra on their wifi cards. The card can go up to 2100 Mbps on a 5 GHz band and a whole 1000 Mbps on a 2.4 GHz band. The adapter comes with a magnetic base and 4 flexible antennas. It can support Windows 7 86×64 as well as Windows 10 86×64.
- Data Transfer Rate: 2100Mbps on 5 GHz band or 1000Mbps on 2.4 GHz band
- Operating System: Windows 10 86×64, Windows 7 86×64 (Windows 11 Ready)
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 2.24 x 10.9 inches
- Hardware Interface: PCl Express
- Wifi Standard: IEEE 802.11AC
3. TP-Link AC1300 PCIe WiFi PCIe Card(Archer T6E) – Budget Pick
At number 3, we have the TP-Link AC1300 PCIe Wifi Card (Archer T6E). This is the card that will work best on you if you’re looking for a good wifi card on a budget. This card goes up to 1300 Mbps and can handle 4k UHD video streaming! It comes with two built-in external antennas that increase its range. The card is capable with Windows 10/8.1/9 or 7 operating systems at 64 or 32 bits. This device has a heat sink for maintaining low temperatures and ensuring a stable connection.
- Data Transfer Rate: 1300 Megabits Per Second
- Operating System: Windows 10/8.1/8/7 (64/32bit)
- Dimensions: 4.76 x 4.74 x 0.85 inches
- Hardware Interface: Express Card, Radio Frequency
- Wifi Standard: IEEE 802.11AC
4. Rosewill RNX-AC1900PCE PCI Express WiFi Adapter – Runner Up
Moving on, we arrive at the runner up of the list, the Rosewill RNX-AC1900PCE Dual Band AC1900 PCI Express Wifi Adapter. This Rosewill product goes up to a max speed of 1900 mbps on Windows versions ranging from Windows XP, all the way up to Windows 10. It uses Mimo technology with 3×3 dual-band modulation and has 3 omnidirectional antennas that can also be upgraded if needed. The card supports advanced security, with support for 64/128 WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK (TKIP-AES).
- Data Transfer Rate: 1900 Megabits Per Second
- Operating System: Windows XP/ 7/ 8/ 8.1/ 10
- Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 1 inches
- Hardware Interface: PCI
- Wifi Standard: IEEE 802.11ac
The fifth card on this list is the Wi-Fi 6 Gig+ AX200 BT 5.2 WiFi Card from F Fenvi. This is an affordable, ultra-fast wifi card that you can depend on to get your work done. It can go up to 2.4 Gbps at 5 GHz and up to 574 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and supports WPA3 for a secure connection. For connection, the card uses Bluetooth 5.2 and can connect with devices like Bluetooth stereos, Bluetooth keyboards, Bluetooth mice, and many more.
- Data Transfer Rate: 3000 Megabits Per Second
- Operating System: Windows 10 64 bit
- Dimensions: 6.97 x 5.43 x 2.05 inches
- Hardware Interface: Bluetooth 5.2
- Wifi Standard: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/ac
Next up, we have the GIGABYTE GC-WB1733D-I which is a dual-band wifi card that connects using Bluetooth 5 connectivity. The card can support a high-speed WiFi connection of up to 1733 Mbps and features reliable WiFi 6 technology. It has an external antenna to help with reception.
- Data Transfer Rate: Up to 1733 Mbps
- Operating System: Windows
- Dimensions: 8.27 x 5.83 x 2.16 inches
- Hardware Interface: Bluetooth 5
- Wifi Standard: IEEE 802.11ac
The final card on our list is the MSI AC WiFI Bluetooth Wireless PCIe Network Adapter Card. One of the most affordable offerings on the list, this MSI product comes at a low price without compromising on quality. The card uses Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and comes equipped with 2 external, detachable antennas. It is compatible with older as well as newer Windows versions.
- Data Transfer Rate: Up to 867 Mbps
- Operating System: Windows 10/ 8.1/ 8/ 7/ XP
- Dimensions: 2.6 x 0.7 x 4.7 inches
- Hardware Interface: Bluetooth 4.2, PCI
- Wifi Standard: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
How to Choose the Best Wifi Card for Gaming?
Choosing the best WiFi card for gaming is actually quite easier than what you may think. There are just a few parameters that you need to consider before making your decision.
For starters, you’ll want to get a card that offers dual-band connectivity. 2.4 GHz when you need the connection over a longer range and 5 GHz when you really need the speed. Next, make sure that the card is compatible with your operating system. Speaking of compatibility, check if the WiFi Card you’re looking at requires an internal USB connection, you might need to free up a port in your PC.
In 2022, don’t even look at WiFi Cards with less than WiFi 6 connectivity. Look for a speed of around 1 Gbps, but marginally less works okay too. The faster the better. Try to get a card with external antennas that improve WiFi reception. It’s better if the antennas are adjustable and come with a separate base that you can move around to get better reception. Getting a card that features OFDMA will help with efficiency. That’s pretty much all you need to see if you’re buying a WiFi card in 2023.
To sum up, there are a number of high-speed WiFi cards on the market in all price ranges that you can use for your gaming needs. WiFi has come up as a strong alternative to ethernet for gaming and you can easily use them in place of ethernet for a quick and easy way to connect to the internet without the hassles of cables.
We hope you’ve found the information in this article to be useful and it has helped you decide which WiFi card to choose.