Independent NIC over the motherboard intergrated adapter? Help

:hello:
i dont doubt this was brought up before, but seeing as it is the end of 2009 and there has been introduction of new hardware, I was wondering..

if switching from a motherboard[Asus M4A78 PRO] NIC to a PCI/PCIe network card would improve stability of my internet connection, lower ping, and improve transfer speeds.

also, what is the difference between PCI and PCIe, as both platforms are still widely available..?

& is there even a reason to consider the so called "gaming" adapters that run on average $100+, over a $30 Intel counterpart?
:(

note that my motherboard NIC is "Atheros AR8121/AR8113/AR8114"
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