When it comes to getting the best connectivity for gaming, it is widely stated that you should be turning your back on wireless connection and going hardwired every time, however that isn’t always an option and that is why we wanted to unveil the best wireless card for gaming in 2017.
While there are so many options available to you, it can be hard to know whether the bold claims that many made are a true reflection of their performance or whether they have pumped up the products reputation to ensure that their product is in the running while you consider buying your next wireless card for your gaming exploits, so let’s take a closer look at what the market has to offer and find you that connection you crave.
We feel that it is important at this point to reveal to those that are looking to only just start out their PC gaming journey, although you could find the connection to your network ideal for standard, every day tasks, getting the best gaming experience you can from your computer is going to mean that the dongle style wireless network adapter isn’t going to be up to the job, so listen up…
ASUS 4×4 AC3100 PCIe Adapter
The ASUS 4×4 AC3100 was released last year (2016) by one of the most reputable networking brands there is and when it landed on the shelves it certainly had everything going for it, claiming to have the all of the ‘bells and whistles’ you would ever need to get the best level of performance in the wifi gaming sector.
Boasting the latest 802.11ac chipset, it was certainly not built to be falling into a long list of possible options available, it was even more clear that once again ASUS were coming out fighting and wanted that coveted top spot… Which clearly worked as the ASUS 4×4 AC3100 PCIe wireless network adapter is taking our top spot.
Making use of dual bands to deliver the speeds that reach up to AC3100 via the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz network channels available to you and if you are asking yourself which you should be choosing is given both options, the 5 GHz is definitely where the party is.
The release of the ASUS 4×4 AC3100 landed very well for us within the market, outperforming the previously entrusted PCE-AC68 ASUS Dual-Band Wireless AC1900 PCI-E Adapter and quickly proving that once again a new generation of offering from the ASUS brand is ready to take over their previous and with a staggering 60% improvement in the speeds you can obtain.
One of the key elements that enhances the connectivity of the PCIe AC3100 is its four-antenna design, which are located on the base of the receiver and could be found sat as close to your router as you wish, while flexing an ability to outperform almost every single other wireless network card designed for gaming on the market today.
While we know that the look of your wireless networking adapter is not about to be high on your priority list, we wouldn’t want you to decide to look elsewhere because you weren’t keen on the look of the receiver (I know that some will be that vein), so if that is a potential deal breaker then you may want to take a look at what I have to say in a minute…
Should the external receive prove to be too much for you to stomach, you do have the option to screw the antennas off and connect them directly to the card itself, meaning that things are a little neater when you finally get the time to welcome visitors into your gaming den.
With the looks new in check, can we take a moment to take a look at how the ASUS 4×4 AC3100 handles both heat and load capacity?
Well to not go into the design blueprints and angles, the shortest way to be able to tell you about how well this card performs is to simply tell you that if you are concerned about the heat that the card could face while your computer is on, don’t be.
It has a heatsink that has been specifically created to be able to allow the card to dissipate with just passive cooling, so don’t be putting any specialised fans into your checkout as you won’t need them.
As for high load capacity, forget about that too as this will deal with whatever you have to throw at it and just laugh straight back in the direction in which it came, it’s a big boy so no need to worry about sending it out to do a job.
ASUS Dual-Band Wireless AC1900 PCI-E Adapter
The ASUS Dual-Band Wireless AC1900 PCI-E Adapter may no longer be the most powerful kid on the block when it comes to getting the best wireless gaming connection via WIFI thanks to the AC3100 listed above, but it still offers a fantastic level of performance and will come in at a lower price for those that are shopping on a budget.
While not exactly ‘budget’ price in the general sense, you can’t really expect it to be as it still makes use of the same 8002.11ac chipset and boasts very impressive speed capabilities when compared to others on the market, up to 1.3 Gbps.
As the name suggests, it also opens up dual band capabilities for you to choose from and either will be able to give you the connection suitable for overcoming those lagging connections that you could be used to while gaming or in some cases even dropped connections.
As you may have expected, having already seen our winner the AC3100, it makes use of an external antenna system that is designed to give you much greater capabilities of being able to get the strongest possible WIFI signal possible, however if that isn’t the ideal look that you are going for (we know that some of you will be wanting something a little less overstated) you again have the ability to be able to screw the antennas off the receiver and attach them directly to the back of your network card, in a trio fan design.
Great for those that don’t want to be spending the sort of money that the AC3100 will require but suffer from dead zones throughout the home, the AC1900 makes use of technology that even now is leading the market in terms of powering the best WIFI network cards for gaming.
A true ‘plug and play’ style upgrade that should appeal to gamers looking to upgrade their connection, the Dual-Band AC1900 can be simply used straight out of the box and as soon as you have connected to your WIFI network can load up your games and jump straight into the action that awaits, safe in the knowledge that your connection is no longer going to impact on that kill/death ratio or split second personal bests.
While it does fall behind in our list of the top 3 wireless cards for gaming to its later generation, don’t be fooled into thinking that it can’t handle whatever you have to through at it as it was created with 4K streaming and gaming in mind, hence why it held the accolade of being the best wireless card for gaming in 2016.
TP-Link Archer T9E
TP-Link’s Archer T9E is the third place winner in our search for the best wireless card for gaming and it comes from ‘good stock’ with a company like TP-Link behind it as they have made themselves even more of a household name in the networking market than ever before.
Another of the choices that we have made that makes use of the latest 802.11ac chipset, there is a real theme running through the selections that we have made and even if you decide that none of the three that we have listed for you here is right for you, at least you know that you should be looking for other 802.11ac chipset options as you continue your search.
Both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands are available to you should you decide that the Archer T9E is best for you and this time around you will be given the opportunity to decide on the speeds that you would like to use while connected, spanning from AC1300, AC1750 or AC1900.
While we are unsure why anyone would want to limit the speeds that their wireless card is able to handle while they intend to play games, but the option is still there and you can choose as you please.
The card is capable to handle transfer speeds up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, so if you are looking to get the best possible speeds you will want to ensure that your PC is able to connect with the 5 GHz where possible.
Although many claim that it is great for those that are looking to play some of the most challenging games out right now, we would suggest that there are a number of titles that would struggle to be able to cope with the speeds that you are working with here, so if you are going to pick the Archer T9E from TP-Link suggest that you look to upgrade your antenna’s in order to try eliminate lag and potential drops in connection.
That said, it is better than many other options out there on the market right now and if you don’t have the budget to extend to the two ASUS wireless cards that took both first and second place in our list, this is the choice that you should be looking to consider.