wireless adapters for desktop computers

Messages
2,120
Location
Southeast Michigan
Hi guys. I have a relatively old desktop computer (i.e. Intel Core™2 Duo Processor E6400 w/ 4 GB RAM running Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit) that I need a wireless adapter for. Do you have any recommendations on a good choice? Looking at Newegg's best-rated adapters, I see quite a range from a $6.38 USB adapter to a $72.99 PCI Express adapter. I don't want to waste my time on something inexpensive that isn't going to work well. But I also don't want to waste my money on something that isn't going to do anything different than a less expensive one.
 
Messages
5,445
Location
MTL, CANADA
Get a card that you install into the desktop. Much better then the USB type. I got an inexpensive one for about 40$ about 4 years ago..Works well. Check for reviews on amazon. Should help you to narrow down your choices a bit more. Im running an ancient Dell with XP..lol
 
Last edited:
Messages
13,616
Location
Frisco, TX
Originally Posted By: Rolla07
Get a card that you install into the desktop. Much better then the USB type. I got an inexpensive one for about 40$ about 4 years ago..Works well. Check for reviews on amazon. Should help you to narrow down your choices a bit more. Im running an ancient Dell with XP..lol
False, the cards are typically worse unless they have big antennas. You're stuck with it sitting behind the case where reception is not good. The USB ones generally include small extension cords so you can place them a bit higher to improve reception. Honestly, there is very little difference in the adapters. Just get a name-brand USB one that includes some sort of little stand/extension cord.
 
Messages
36,471
Location
ME
What's keeping you from running cat 5? That would futureproof whatever room you're in. The crimpy tool is only about 7 bucks and it's frankly fun.
 
Messages
1,428
Location
Detroit area
I wouldn't go the USB wireless adapter route... I've never had good success with them. I just got a cheap Powerline Ethernet kit and it's been amazing! I've been using it for 4 months now and no issues yet. Only costs about $40 on amazon.
 
Messages
2,440
Location
snowblind in TX
Few observations. Nothing wrong with USB wireless adapters. I have sold more than a few. No problems with any of the later devices. Early ones tended to be somewhat problematic just due to the newness, and driver problems under XP. Absolutely 0 problems setting them up with WIN7. Expansion cards, ditto. PCI, PCI-E have all worked OK. I have not run across any problem children. Like anything, antennae placement can be less than optimal, some come with remote antennas. Another solution- access point. I used to sell a lot of Buffalo AirStation WCR-GN routers, mainly because they were $20 whenever Newegg ran deals on them, and also because the made great access points. You can set them up as access points, plug an Ethernet cable into it, connect the other to your computer and it acts just like an Ethernet connection. Plus, you can plug in up to 4 systems, and all can connect via wireless from the one access point. Once you get the router/access point configured, it is transparent, no drivers or additional software needed on the client.
 

barlowc

Thread starter
Messages
2,120
Location
Southeast Michigan
Originally Posted By: eljefino
What's keeping you from running cat 5?
Nothing. In fact, that's my preference. Right now it's about convenience. I don't know where the computer is going to reside permanently. I'm in a new home and I don't quite know how I'm going to set everything up. So right now I just want to plug the computer in someplace out of the way and then access it via Remote Desktop from my work laptop.
 
Messages
17,428
Location
Silicon Valley
The cheaper cards / adapters tend to use cheap chipset that are not as good in reception and stability. Look at the model number and search it with "chipset" on the internet and see what you come up. My preference is Broadcom, then Atheros (now Qualcomm), then Intel, then Marvell or Ralink (these 2 are not really that great), then no name brand. If you run Windows they should all work, but if you run Linux or some funny stuff then drivers maturity of the lesser then Intel / Atheros / Broadcom brands could be bad IMO.
 

barlowc

Thread starter
Messages
2,120
Location
Southeast Michigan
I should mention that throughput is pretty important with this computer. I have a dual-tuner TV tuner card and use it along with Windows Media Center to serve as my DVR for over-the-air broadcasts. In the past I used my Xbox 360 as an extender and streamed recorded programs through it to my TV. Here in my new home I'll either do the same, or will put in a new video card with HDMI out and just connect it directly to my TV.
 
Messages
40,736
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: barlowc
I should mention that throughput is pretty important with this computer. I have a dual-tuner TV tuner card and use it along with Windows Media Center to serve as my DVR for over-the-air broadcasts. In the past I used my Xbox 360 as an extender and streamed recorded programs through it to my TV. Here in my new home I'll either do the same, or will put in a new video card with HDMI out and just connect it directly to my TV.
For HD streaming, I'd forget wifi.
 
Messages
11,196
Location
NY Capital District
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: barlowc
I should mention that throughput is pretty important with this computer. I have a dual-tuner TV tuner card and use it along with Windows Media Center to serve as my DVR for over-the-air broadcasts. In the past I used my Xbox 360 as an extender and streamed recorded programs through it to my TV. Here in my new home I'll either do the same, or will put in a new video card with HDMI out and just connect it directly to my TV.
For HD streaming, I'd forget wifi.
I disagree, with qualifications. If you have a good router, and are using devices with multi stream, preferably 5ghz connections, it works fine. I use one of our roku 3s with plex wirelessly, over the 5ghz connection our router. I have it set up for 20mbps bitrate transcoding from my server, and it works perfectly. Now if I was using a single stream 2.4Ghz device yeah, it probably wouldn't work.
 
Messages
13,616
Location
Frisco, TX
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: barlowc
I should mention that throughput is pretty important with this computer. I have a dual-tuner TV tuner card and use it along with Windows Media Center to serve as my DVR for over-the-air broadcasts. In the past I used my Xbox 360 as an extender and streamed recorded programs through it to my TV. Here in my new home I'll either do the same, or will put in a new video card with HDMI out and just connect it directly to my TV.
For HD streaming, I'd forget wifi.
I can EASILY stream high-bitrate 1080p with 5.1 lossless audio over 802.11n. My brother does the same thing with DLNA. Wifi is absolutely fine.
 
Messages
1,645
Location
SF Bay Area
I smoked 2 patriot USB wifi sticks on an old desktop. the desktop was running a bit torrent connection between a friend & I for about 9 straight days. Needless to say, the first stick lasted 2 days and I started to get errors. I got a 2nd stick, same one, that barely made it the next 7 days, a lot of rebooting & inserting into the other usb ports. that stick still works, I put it in a laptop to test and it seems ok. I don't believe the usb sticks can handle the massive constant data transfer. So I put a D-Link PCI card in, single antenna. This has handled everything and anything. There's no substitue for a card with its own brain on it.
 
Messages
334
Location
Maryland
Originally Posted By: EricF
There's no substitue for a card with its own brain on it.
There's actually much less difference between the USB and PCIe cards these days, the trend has been cheaper cards with more of the work done on the CPU. And with cycles so cheap, and the NIC market so competitive, you can't blame them. If you follow the Linux Wireless mailing list, you can learn a lot reading about the firmware blobs vendors put out. That said I use a PCIe wireless card (Intel), but my ancient case has no front USB. Anyone remember softmodems and all the teeth-gnashing that happened in the 56K days?
 
Messages
849
Location
Youngstown, NY
Softmodems were the work of the devil. They were introduced at a time where busses and CPUs were still too slow for them to really be workable, especially to the online gamer market. AC'97 when it was first introduced was in the same boat. It was plagued by bad performance and they were noisy. Now discrete soundcards are rare and almost completely unnecessary unless you're a sound engineer.
 
Top