Is it better to spend the extra money to get a laptop with integrated wireless or to save money by just buying and installing a CardBus wireless NIC? Are there any differences in power draw, performance, etc.?
Depends... some internal notebook wireless is very good and much of miniPCI/internal wireless has to do with the placement of the antenna. If you go with the card, the same is true as well. From my experience, and as you will see in the Wireless review that I have coming out shortly, a lot of it depends on the card and the access point for the performance. My suggestion is if you go with the built-in option, know who makes it and make sure that it works well. If not, there are other options, for cards, but depending on what you want I reccomend the Orinco or the 3Com. They cost a lot more, but if you are looking to save money and get performance that is a tall order, as you will see in my review coming shortly.
So I was thinking of getting a WinBook J4, which only has one Type II Cardbus slot. In order to save the slot, I was going to get integrated wireless (which is not really integrated, but a mini-PCI Intersil 2.5 chipset).
Do you think it would be a better idea to forego the packaged wifi card and purchase a brand name mini-PCI from another vendor?