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Wifi and bluetooth card

Last response: in Components
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June 12, 2012 12:52:50 AM

While I have assembled some PC’s in the past, I’ve never actually done the component selection. I’m fed up with continual price increases from Comcast, and since I live in an area with good over-the-air TV selection, it seems now is the time to ditch cable TV. So I'm in the process of designing a HTPC.

I only have wifi for an internet connection without a lot of expense, and I want to use the wireless Bluetooth keyboard and mouse from my existing Mac Mini. Looks like Intel has a Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 130 card that provides both wifi and Bluetooth in a single card. It fits in a PCIe Half-Mini card slot, which is available.

I can't figure out if an external antenna is needed, or is this card enough? It seems that sticking it into a metal case would block any signals.

Anyone with some experience here?

Thanks

More about : wifi bluetooth card

June 12, 2012 12:57:55 AM

Hello eowens0124;

That PCIe Half-Mini card is the type usually used in laptops and notebooks.
What are you using for a motherboard?
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June 12, 2012 1:11:54 AM

I'm planning an Intel HD77EB motherboard with an i3-2120T processor. There are 4 PCIe slots and I'm using three: two ATSC tuner cards, a 1394b/a card. There is also a PCIe mini-card slot, so this seemed like a way to get both wifi and bluetooth in a single port.

Is there a better approach?
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June 12, 2012 1:22:09 AM

That PCIe mini-card slot's main purpose is a small SSD supporting Intel Rapid Start Technology.

In a laptop that wireless combo card you linked before has access to the laptops already installed internal antennas.

Lets look around for some PC type wireless networking options.
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June 12, 2012 1:24:58 AM

I was afraid that an antenna was needed. Thanks. Wifi, Bluetooth, and just "plug it in" seemed too good to be true.
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June 12, 2012 1:33:56 AM

yep, that's the connector I was planning to use. It looks like all the PCIe connections are there, and if I later need an SSD, there are enough SATA ports to put it in a 2.5" drive slot elsewhere.
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June 12, 2012 1:42:50 AM

I haven't found a case yet. This is the most frustrating part of this effort! I'm frustrated about how difficult finding a case has become. This shouldn't be hard! I'm looking for a horizontal micro-ATX case, 3 PCIe half-height openings (unless this wifi card creates more demand), 1-3.5" bay, 1-2.5"bay, an optical drive slot (slot load is ok), and an IR port. There just don't seem to be any good case selection tools.
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Best solution

June 12, 2012 2:01:03 AM

See how close this one comes to meeting your requirements:
Wesena HTPC-e7
More options on the same website.
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June 12, 2012 4:54:09 PM

WR2 said:
See how close this one comes to meeting your requirements:
Wesena HTPC-e7
More options on the same website.


Thanks for the lead! It looks like the Wesena HTPC-e6 is a great fit, as long as I can get all the PCIe connections as half-height cards. The tuners and the 1394 cards are, so this adds another requirement to the wifi / bluetooth search.

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June 12, 2012 5:03:05 PM

The WiFi card I linked above had the half height bracket in the accessory pack.
Still looks like the Bluetooth USB dongle is the best option there.

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June 12, 2012 10:41:29 PM

WR2 said:
The WiFi card I linked above had the half height bracket in the accessory pack.
Still looks like the Bluetooth USB dongle is the best option there.

http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/33-320-074-Z05?$S640$


Another option is a card from Gigabyte. Just looking at the picture, I don't think that the card will fit in the half-height profile. It's pretty clear that my original selection won't work without an antenna connection.
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June 12, 2012 10:53:39 PM

It's really a shame that Gigabyte WiFi/BT combo card doesn't come with a half height bracket.
That looked ideal for what you want.
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June 12, 2012 11:03:26 PM

Here is a Z77 mSATA PCI-e connector on a Gigabyte MB


source
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June 12, 2012 11:13:45 PM

I could cobble up a bracket, but if the card is too tall, that won't help. Of course, I can't find any measurements.
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June 23, 2012 12:03:31 AM

Best answer selected by eowens0124.
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