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M.2 or PCI wifi card for AMD build?


I’ve been looking to build my first PC for a while and I’ve decided to go with a Ryzen 5 3600 cpu and the AsRock X570 Phantom Gaming 4 motherboard. My issue is that my university doesn’t have ethernet in any of the residential buildings so I need to use wifi. I saw that the board features an M.2 slot with an e key for wifi and was looking to use it for that. From what I’ve looked at, intel makes most of the cards on the market and many have cnvi which seems to only be compatible with intel processors. The m.2 slot is showcased as a feature and seems like a cheap option but I would also be open to using an expansion card with antenna already attached in a pcie slot. Is there anything preventing me from using an intel ax200 m.2 card plus some cheap antennas to get wifi 6 and bluetooth 5 compatibility and if so are there any other options I should consider? Trying to figure out what I can or can’t use has been so frustrating. Thank you for any respones.

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I would reconsider and probably get a motherboard with built in wifi for like $50 extra.

The X570 chipsets seem a bit pricey, it’s your money but I’d probably go with an X470 instead. They would be able to handle that CPU just fine and the CPU should be able to last you to the AM5 socket. If you plan on picking up a Zen 4000-series then the X570 is more worth it.

Regardless, would change to say, the MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge instead of Phantom Gaming 4.

Best value motherboard would be either the Aorus X470 Gaming 5 (if you want ATX, 4 RAM slots and 2 PCI Express slots), or if you don’t need the extra expansion ports, the ASRock X470 F4tal1ty Gaming I (2 RAM slots, 1 PCI Express). Make sure the case can fit it though (most ATX cases can).

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It all depends on your usage and signal levels.

Even the $2 wireless dongles should be fine if all you are doing is downloading/surfing/etc and have a good signal level.

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Maybe configure an old router as a wifi bridge?

(Wrong reply button, sorry @wertigon :rofl: )



From what I could tell some motherboards with wifi built in seemed to have worse cards but I’ll definitely check them out. My issue with x470 or even B450 is I have no way of updating the bios to get Zen 2 to work with it. I’m trying to buy from microcenter and they said a bios update would cost me $30 so I though it would be best to go x570 and pay a little extra.

I could get the ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PLUS WIFI for $55 more do you think that would be worth it rather than doing any networking myself? I was originally going to go B450 to keep below budget and would get B550 if it weren’t coming out next year, so my motherboard choice is purely the cheapest x570 possible since I figured it would be good no matter what being in the x category.



The signals in dorms have not been the best and I have the same problem at home with no Ethernet upstairs and a weak signal. I’m looking for something low latency enough to game on casually and if possible, actually get close to the speed I’d have downstairs.



That’s a good idea. My family rents a crap modem/router from our isp though so the best I have as a bridge is a tplink nano router I take to hotels. It seems to drastically increase ping though when I tried it with my laptop.



@phase_shift there are X470 motherboards that will allow upgrading the BIOS without a CPU; someone in another post posted a link to a list of them. Unfortanly Asrock doesn’t have any and Asus has only one motherboard in the x470 chipset that allows updating the BIOS without CPU. In my case, I will be purchasing the Asrock X570 Taichi because it is only $30 dollars more than Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero [Wi-Fi]. Also if what I have heard about the way the X570 Taichi handles memory is true I think it would be a very interesting motherboard. Here is the link I was talking about.



I would go USB or PCIe with an antenna extension. That way you can get the antennas away from the main box and all the electronic noise that interferes with antennas.

Just make sure to get an 802.11ac or better yet, 802.11ax (WIFI 6) wifi controller. AX with multiple antennas is ideal because that way you can support full duplex over wifi once it becomes available at the your WIFI access points.



@Shadowbane That list is very helpful and I’ve checked pricing on all of the motherboards with wifi and BIOS flashing and noticed that with the $50 off deal microcenter is running it would actually work out cheaper for me to stick with X570 since none of the other boards are available there. I’m now looking at the ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PLUS WIFI since I won’t need to update the BIOS or deal with installing a wifi card. Now I’m not sure if its worth it to look at the normal X470 boards with BIOS flashing and install wifi myself since everything just seems to use Intel Wireless AC-9260 anyways.



@hydrian Would getting an M.2 wifi card and running the cables outside of the case get more interference than PCIe? It seems that m.2 would be cheaper to get wifi 6 I’m just not sure of the compatibility.



Depends on your case. Does it already have wifi access holes or do you have to make custom access ports? Are their enough access holes? If there are holes, where those holes compared to the m.2 socket? What electronics would you need to cross that could cause interference.

As you can see, it gets complicated quickly if you deal with internal wifi. This is why suggested USB or PCIe.



All the motherboards I’m looking at have holes in the IO shield and it seems simple enough to run cables to them from the m.2 slot. I’m only worried the card won’t work. Will pretty much any m.2 or PCIe card work with any system or do I need to be careful as far as if it has AMD compatible drivers or something?



If your worried about and Intel wireless card, there shouldn’t be an issue. I’ve running an Intel 7260 PCIe card in my AMD machine for years. In an older A8 APU motherboard and now a B450 Ryxen chipset boards.

The one thing that may be lacking is having network access in a pre-os boot environment. Some mobos allow you upgrade your bios this way. You probably can’t rely on that working.

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If you need the pre-os boot networking, your best reliable bet is getting a wireless AP and put it in bridge/client mode and connect it via the ethernet port like @noenken said.



Great! That shouldn’t be too much of a problem then. I can always plug into the router at home when I build the system to update the bios and use a bridge at school. Now the only question is do I get an intel ax200 and some antennas for $30 total or pay $55 to get an Asus board with an Intel 9260 and their included antenna? I don’t get wifi 6 that way but I’m wondering if they would run the cables any better than I would and if the antenna is better or just whatever I would get on Amazon in a fancy plastic shroud.