About Wireless N, or a Tail of Two Adapters

In a few weeks I am getting new internet service from Qwest, 40/5Mb which blows my current 1.5Mb out of the water really. As such I have to upgrade the modem to a VDSL2 modem, the Actiontec Q1000. This modem comes with a wireless N standard so I deciding on getting a wireless N adapter to place on my motherboard.

Let's start first with the mother board The EP45-UD3R. I was looking in the manual and I found the following expansion slots; 1 PCIe x16 occupied by my graphics card, 3x PCIe x1 slots, and 3x PCI slots. I assume the PCI slots are 32bit slots based on the location of the divider in the front of the slot(close to the middle of the motherboard).

In my search of my local Micro Center, I found 2 wireless N adapter cards I believe I can use.

1. D-Link Extreme N PCIe Desktop Adapter. This one would fit into one of my PCIe X1 slots.

2. D-Link Xtreme N Desktop PCI Adapter This one says 32-bit which again I assume I have 3 of.

My question to ye fine folks of Tom's Hardware: what difference if any will there be between the two cards, as the specs seem similar, and is this an acceptable idea for gaming as well? Or should I buy a separate NIC and wireless N router, and hook up the router to the NIC via ethernet for better throughput? Laugh if you like, but I just want to get the most out of my new wireless coming.
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  1. same D-Link cards are cheaper at Newegg with free shipping

    also take a look at these cards


  2. Alright, but what sort of discernible difference will I find in performance from a PCIe x1 or PCI slot cards?
  3. PCIe does provide more bandwidth than PCI, but we're talking about their respective INTERNAL BUS speeds, not the bandwidth they support over wireless (in that regard PCI or PCIe has no relevance). At these types of speeds (15-20mbps), which bus you use is not very important (even the older PCI bus supports 1000mbps!). Granted the PCIe bus is the road less traveled (so far), but unless you’re REALLY hammering that PCI bus (e.g., Gigabit PCI network adapter and lots of local file transfers), it’s just not going to matter.

    As far as faster adapters providing a stronger signal, there isn’t a direct correlation. There are plenty of wireless B adapters that outperform wireless G, maybe even N adapters, in terms of signal strength. It almost doesn’t matter anyway since your environment is far more likely to affect performance than the technology itself. Radio interference from other wireless routers and 2.4GHzx devices (cordless phones, microwave ovens, radio control equipment, even wireless mice and Bluetooth), obstacles, etc., are your biggest challenges. In fact, some N devices support dual-band (2.4GHz and 5Ghz). Obviously a nice feature to have available, esp. for avoiding the more congested 2.4GHz freq. But there’s a downside. All other things being equal, 5GHz will have LESS range than 2.4GHz! IOW, faster isn’t always better.

    Technically, unless you need it for local file access/streaming, you only need as much speed as your ISP provides. Of course, it never hurts to have more for future-proofing. N equipment does tend to offer better antenna solutions over G, even if you only use N in G mode. Until recently G has been assumed, with N needing justification. I believe we’ve reached the point that has begun to shift, w/ N being presumed and G needing justification, esp. given the recent certification of N and the falling prices for N we’ve seen over the past couple years. So unless you’re on a tight budget, I just can’t see investing any further in G equipment.

    Former post from eibgrad
  4. So really, it won't matter PCIe or PCI, I am not likely to hit a cap at all. Ok. Since I do have a wireless mouse, I might be better off choosing a dual band system, so I can keep the signals clean. I have two weeks to figure it out really.
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