Image credit: Asus
The latest motherboards make up a great platform to build high-performance PCs as they include high-speed PCIe expansion interfaces, DDR4 compatible DIMM RAM slots, and support new-gen CPUs and GPUs.
But despite being highly advanced in terms of new-gen hardware compatibility, many modern motherboards do not include one of the most basic features, which is WiFi.
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Wireless connectivity such as Bluetooth and WiFi has become ubiquitous in electronic devices, so why do many modern motherboards come without a WiFi card? Well, there are several reasons for this. The primary reason is many gamers prefer ethernet connectivity over WiFi when it comes to achieving the best gaming performance.
Another reason is many companies exclude Wi-Fi cards in their motherboards to keep the price in check. Also, many high-end PC building enthusiasts tend to not prefer the stock WiFi cards that come pre-installed in motherboards.
The good news is there are motherboards that include WiFi cards. And not all motherboards have low-end WiFi cards as several latest models include the new-gen WiFi 6 and 6E modules that bring significant connectivity speed improvements over WiFi 5.
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But it’s not just the availability of WiFi that you want to prioritize when you’re buying a relatively expensive piece of equipment that a PC motherboard is. It’s also important to factor in other requirements such as SSD type compatibility, the number of RAM slots available, availability of PCIe x16 GPU slots, and most importantly, CPU socket compatibility.
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Types of motherboards with WiFi to choose from
Depending on your requirement, it’s important to first decide on the type of motherboard that you want to go for. There is a common misconception that Mini ITX motherboards do not include WiFi and Bluetooth. However, this is not always the case as many Mini ITX motherboard models do come with WiFi and Bluetooth onboard. The one big downside of Mini ITX motherboards is the lack of multiple PCIe expansion slots.
If you want a multiple GPU setup for intensive gaming or have requirements for additional PCIe expansion slots, it’s best to go with either a Standard ATX or a Micro ATX motherboard.
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These pros and cons may help you make an informed decision as to what type of motherboard will best suit your requirements and budget:
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CPU compatibility is the most important factor in determining the type of motherboard with WiFi that’s right for you. If you already have a CPU, make sure that the motherboard you plan to buy is compatible with the CPU socket. On the other hand, if you are yet to buy a CPU, make sure that you match the socket compatibility of both the CPU and the motherboard.
Here are references for Intel as well as AMD CPU socket compatibility:
Image credit: Paul’s Hardware YouTube
Image credit: Paul’s Hardware YouTube
Best motherboards with WiFi: Standard ATX motherboards
Standard ATX motherboards come as the best choice if you want to build a high-performance gaming PC that can take on even the most hardware-intensive PC games. With Standard ATX motherboards, you do not go short on building a multi GPU gaming rig that supports CPU overclocking, latest-gen SSDs, and AIO coolers.
Here are the 2 best Standard ATX motherboards with WiFi
1. ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO – check it out here (Best motherboard with WiFi for ATX)
Gaming PCs and peripherals in Asus’s ROG series boast some of the best performances in the market. If you prefer high-speed WiFi connectivity over ethernet when gaming, you cannot go wrong with ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO as it packs onboard WiFi 6E. What’s best is this model also includes external WiFi 6E antennas.
ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO helps you access tons of high-end features such as multi GPU support, two USB Type C ports, dual 2.5-gigabit ethernet connectivity, four DDR4 RAM DIMM slots, and four M.2 slots. It also includes various types of support for optimum cooling, including I/O heatsinks, multiple fan headers, and M.2 heat sinks.
- WiFi 6E onboard with dedicated antennas
- Dedicated water cooling zone included
- Dedicated I/O RGB lighting
- Price and performance can be overkill for some
- Pre-mounted I/O shield may not be preferable for some
2. Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WiFi – check it out here
If you are someone who wants to leverage your existing WiFi 5 setup with a new high-performance gaming PC, Gigabyte B450 AORUS PRO WiFi can be one of the best options for you. This model usually gains a top spot as one of the best gaming motherboards with WiFi 5 as it includes a dual-band 802.11 ac setup.
This motherboard supports AMD Ryzen, Vega, and Radeon processors. Other top-tier features of this motherboard include multiple GPU support, four DIMM slots for DDR4 RAM, and dual support for NVMe PCIe Gen 3 M.2 SSDs. Additional features such as temperature sensors, integrated thermal guards for M.2 slots and I/O shield, and multiple display support make this model worth the purchase.
- Onboard WiFi as well as Bluetooth
- Multiple GPU and NVMe Gen 3 SSD support
- RGB lighting included
- No integrated heat sinks
- Many gamers may not prefer the integrated I/O shield
Best motherboards with WiFi: Micro ATX motherboards
Micro ATX motherboards with WiFi come as an unmistakable choice if you are on a limited budget and don’t want to spend too much on a motherboard in your gaming PC building journey. Similar to Standard ATX motherboards, Micro ATX motherboards aren’t short on including the latest-gen buses and expansion slots.
Here are 2 Micro ATX motherboards with WiFi that offers great value for the price:
1. MSI B550M PRO-VDH WiFi ProSeries – check it out here (Best motherboard with WiFi for Micro ATX)
If you have plans to go for a latest-gen AMD processor, the MSI B550M PRO-VDH WiFi ProSeries motherboard is a great platform to work on. It comes equipped with WiFi 5 in the I/O section along with plenty of high-end features.
Despite being a comparatively affordable Micro ATX motherboard, this model includes support for PCIe 4.0 and new-gen SATA. Other features such as CPU overclocking compatibility, multiple GPU support, and isolated DDR4 RAM support make this motherboard a true value-for-money option.
- WiFi 5 included
- Isolated DDR4 RAM support
- Heat shielding for M.2, I/O, and DIMM slots
- CPU support limited to AMD processors
- USB Type C not included in the I/O bay
2. ASUS TUF B365M Plus – check it out here
ASUS TUF B365M Plus, with its LGA 1151 socket support, comes as a one-stop-shop solution for 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th generation Intel Core CPUs. This Micro ATX motherboard with WiFi baked in eliminates the extra hassle of integrating wireless networking capabilities.
ASUS TUF B365M Plus eases your gaming rig building journey with several gaming-centric features such as multiple M.2 and SATA slots, a dedicated PCIe 3.0 slot, isolated DDR4 DIMM slots, and a shielded I/O bay.
- PCIe to M.2 WiFi card included
- Surge protection included
- Improved DDR4 stability
- Dedicated gaming audio I/O included
- Only one PCIe x16 bus included
- USB Type C ports aren’t available in the I/O bay
Best motherboards with WiFi: Mini ITX motherboards
Mini ITX motherboards are unique in their own right. With a compact form factor, they work great in helping you build the most compact gaming PC tower possible. But despite the compact form factor, high-end Mini ITX motherboards include pre-baked WiFi, latest-gen CPU and GPU support, and multiple M.2 and SATA buses.
Here are 2 Mini ITX motherboards with WiFi that make a great platform for a compact gaming PC build:
1. Gigabyte B550I AORUS PRO AX – check it out here (Best motherboard with WiFi for Mini ITX)
Gigabyte B550I AORUS PRO AX comes as one of the best choices for AMD CPU devotees. Unlike standard Mini ITX motherboards, this model includes the latest-gen WiFi 6 802.11ax and opens up high-speed wireless networking capabilities. Apart from offering top-tier wireless internet connectivity, this model also packs a 2.5G multi-gig port for uncompromised ethernet connectivity speeds.
Despite having a compact Mini ITX form factor, Gigabyte B550I AORUS PRO AX sports four SATA 6Gb/s ports with M.2 connectors. Other features, including dual-channel DDR4 RAM DIMM slots, integrated VRM heatsink, PCIe 4.0 ready power stages, and a dedicated audio header make this model a powerful gaming-ready Mini ITX motherboard.
- WiFi 6 onboard
- Integrated VRM heatsinks available
- RGB lighting includes
- Only one PCIe x16 bus available
2. ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I – check it out here
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I makes a great Mini ITX motherboard for a powerful gaming rig build. Discretely designed for 10th gen Intel core processors, this model packs a punch for a Mini ITX form factor in the wireless internet connectivity department with WiFi 6 AX 201. For wired internet connectivity, this model includes the top-tier 2.5G multi-gig ethernet port.
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I includes dual M.2 interfaces that support PCIe 3.0, 4.0, and SATA modes. In the RAM realm, this board supports up to 64 GB DDR4 memory with dual DIMM slots with each supporting 32 GB capacity.
- Multiple power stages used
- Dual M.2 interfaces available
- Support for Intel Extreme Memory Profile
- Only one PCIe x16 bus available
- Limited header connectors
How to install a WiFi card in the motherboard
If you have a motherboard that doesn’t include a WiFi module or have already purchased one without paying attention to the unavailability of WiFi, you sure can install a PCIe WiFi unit on your own. Here are some simple steps to follow:
The first step is to remove the bracket adjacent to the PCIe bus in the PC tower case’s I/O bay.
The second step is to insert the PCIe WiFi module into the PCIe bus. Make sure to align the notch of the M.2 interface on the PCIe bus.
After you’ve attached the WiFi module to the PCIe bus, make sure that that rear part of the WiFi module has properly aligned in the I/O bay.
After securing the WiFi module in the PCIe bus, connect the WiFi module to the PCIe header using the connector cable that comes included with the PCIe WiFi module.
Insert the rear mount of the I/O bay and screw it to secure the antenna I/O along with other port brackets.
The final step of the physical installation process is to connect the antenna to the rear connectors of the WiFi module.
Place the antenna on top of the PC tower in order to strengthen wireless signal reception and transmission.
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Over to you
The fact is, choosing a motherboard can be an intimate and highly personal process as gaming hardware configuration isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. As such, the recommendations you see in reviews may not precisely suit your requirements.
If you are well informed about the hardware configuration you plan on having in your gaming PC, you can use online motherboard comparison tools in order to make the process of choosing the right motherboard less of a hassle.
Here are several online motherboard comparison websites that you can use to analyze how one particular model stacks up against another in terms of WiFi and Bluetooth availability, expansion slots availability, overclocking support, CPU socket compatibility, and thermal support.
Pangoly – check it out here
Versus – check it out here
PC Part Picker – check it out here