Motherboards are the basic building blocks of all PCs. Therefore, it is imperative that you choose the right one from the get go.
We all know that network connectivity is an integral part of a computer. We also know that WiFi is everywhere. Gone are the days when desktops and laptops had to be connected via long Ethernet cables.
Therefore, it only makes sense to get a motherboard that comes equipped with a WiFi modem.
Often times people miss out on this entirely when procuring a motherboard. As a result, they end up paying for an external USB modem that are prone to damage.
In this article, we will have a look at the some of the best motherboards with WiFi modem installed.
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What to Keep in Mind
You must note from the start that motherboards with a WiFi modems generally cost extra – quite naturally. You can expect to pay about $20-$30 more than an average budget motherboard that does not include WiFi at all.
Furthermore, we would advise you to keep an eye out for the supported sockets and supported processors whenever getting a motherboard.
Finally, not all motherboards are created equally. Some are cheap whereas others can put a hefty dent in your wallet.
Similarly, not all built in WiFi Modems are equal. Some are affordable with limited range and features, others are high performance modems.
Therefore, the one that you choose should depend upon your needs. If you want a motherboard for gaming, then features like overclockable memory modules would matter. If you need a motherboard for simple home use or office use, then a simple budget motherboard with WiFi would do just fine.
Note, it is important to learn about PCIe Slots, Configuration and Lanes before you understand how they work and what you can install on them.
List of Best of Best Motherboards with WiFi in 2020
We have selected the following motherboards for Intel and AMD systems.
You must note that we have omitted premium motherboards. They are way too costly and are not suitable for an average user.
If you do want premium motherboards, we recommend you look into high end gaming motherboards.
- GIGABYTE B360N WiFi – Affordable Mini ITX
- MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC – Mid Range Intel Motherboard with WiFi
- Asus ROG Strix Z390-E – Premium Gaming Motherboard with WiFi
- ASUS ROG Strix B450-I – Budget AMD Motherboard with WiFi
- MSI B450 Gaming PRO Carbon AC – Recommended AMD Motheboard with WiFi
Intel Motherboards with WiFi (Socket LGA1151)
1. GIGABYTE B360N WiFi – Affordable Mini ITX
If you are looking to create an affordable Intel based PC and you do not care much for expandability, then we highly recommend this as one of the best motherboards with WiFi.
There are plenty of things that this motherboard does right and the affordable price is among the top aspects about this piece.
To begin with, this motherboard has a mini ITX form factor and therefore, it is suitable for smaller builds only.
It offers a single PCIe 3.0 x 16 slot which you can use for a single graphics card. The fact that no other PCIe 3.0 x 16 slot is available means that you cannot create an SLI or Crossfire system with dual graphics cards.
Furthermore, it offers 2 x DDR 4 DIMM sockets with support for upto 32 GB of dual channel memory.
This motherboard is designed to support the latest gen intel processor from the 8th and 9th gen. This includes all the processor sharing the LGA1151 socket ranging from Celeron all the way to Core i9.
Besides, this isn’t an average budget motherboard. It offers premium features as well such as high quality audio capacitor, RGB lights for gamers as well as selection of various features that you can use to customize.
You must note that this motherboard offers no PCIe 3.0 x 1 slot. Therefore, smaller expansion of SSD, TV Tuner, Networks Card etc will not be possible.
It does, however, offer 1 x M.2 connector for your SSD.
Unfortunately, since this is a budget motherboard, it misses out on some useful connectors like DisplayPort and USB3.0.
2. MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC – Mid Range Intel Motherboard with WiFi
This is a mid range gaming motherboard that comes with on-board WiFi and an ATX form factor suitable for most standard Intel-based gaming builds.
Intel motherboards with WiFi are generally more expensive than their AMD counterparts.
This motherboard, however, is one of the cheapest you can get with built in WiFi if you want to build a respectable gaming or performance desktop.
This has an ATX form factor and therefore it is suitable for those who want to build a functional office desktop, or a medium gaming rig.
Furthermore, as far as expandability goes, it has 3 x PCIe 3.0 x 16 slots. Therefore, you can hook up to three AMD graphics card at a time or two NVIDIA graphics card. These expansion slots are also steel reinforced (steel armor) and therefore they should be able to handle heavier graphics cards including the RTX 2080s.
Note that while the motherboard supports 3 way crossfire for AMD graphics cards, it only supports 2 way SLI for NVIDIA cards. This is because of the third PCIe X16 slots that only works in x4. Crossfire can work in X4 but not SLI. SLI requires atleast 8x.
Note that, graphics card work best a X16 mode, while they can be operated at lower bandwidths, i.e X4 for AMD Crossfire and X8 for NVIDIA SLI, they will have reduced performance.
Moreover, the motherboard offers a fair distance between the PCIe 3.0 slots as well as RAM clearance space for cooler installation.
The Edge AC has a two M.2 slots, but it does not have the heat sink on the lower slot. Speaking of which, like most premium motherboards, this offers an extended heat sink to support overclocked components.
To cater to the gamers, the board also has RGB lights with 29 effects.
3. Asus ROG Strix Z390-E – Premium Gaming Motherboard with WiFi
Asus ROG Strix Z390-E is a premium Intel-based motherboard for high end gamers who love to overclock their machine.
For those of you remotely familiar with gaming hardware, you must have certainly heard of the ASUS ROG gaming brand.
This is basically a motherboard for the enthusiasts. The fact that you can perform extreme overclocking with the full base clock speed (BCLK) manipulation proves that.
BCLK manipulation is generally considered too unstable for the processor and the memory. However, that is exactly what this MOBO excels at. It harbours the ASUS Pro Clock technology that is specifically designed to handle BCLK over clocking.
To further facilitate the overclockers, this motherboard allows its built in AI to optimize key indicators like the Turbo Progress Unit (TPU), Energy Processing Unit (EPU), Voltage Regulator Module (VRM), and fans for perfect overclock performance.
Of course, all these would matter little to non-gamers. As such, this a premium motherboard built specifically for those who understand and want to squeeze the most juice out of their system.
Besides that, this is a plain beautiful motherboard. This is a piece that you can display via a transparent chassis. It has beautifully crafted heatsinks, as well as plenty of RGB control for a colorful display.
On top of that, almost all of the components ranging from controllers to chokes and capacitors are premium grade components designed for quality operating in various environments (hot or cold).
As far as the expandability is concerned, this motherboard offers support for 3 x PCIe x 16 expansion slots. However, one of the three slots only works in 4x mode at max instead of 8x or 16x despite having the same physical size as an X16 slot.
That means that anything installed on that slot will only operate a X4 PCIe bandwidth. While you can do three-way Crossfire (crossfire requires atleast x4), you cannot do a three way SLI (SLI requires at least x8).
The only relative issue with this motherboard is that it only offers a single USB Type C [Gen2] port and offers a max support of 64 GB of RAM.
The much cheaper, MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC offers 2 x USB Type C [Gen2] and upto 128 GB of RAM support.
Overall, if you are a gamer or a PC build enthusiast, then this among the best motherboards with WiFi.
AMD Motherbaords with WiFi (AM4)
1. ASUS ROG Strix B450-I – Budget AMD Motherboard with WiFi
ASUS ROG Strix B450-I is a high quality, yet a highly affordable, mini ITX motherboard for AMD based systems. It suitable for small builds.
First up we have a Mini ITX motherboard for AMD that is very light on the pocket and offers an excellent solution for mini gaming or work builds.
It offers a single PCIe 3.0 x 16 expansion slot that can fit in a single graphics card. Besides that, it supports a maximum of 32 GB of DDR 4 memory capacity across 2 x DIMM slots with dual channel.
Furthermore, it offers support for a single M.2 NVME slot with a heatsink.
As you can see this is a simple motherboard designed for smaller setups.
The best part is that it belongs to a very famous gaming brand i.e the ROG Strix. Most motherboards hailing from this series are super expensive. Therefore, it is quite a surprise to find a budget motherboard with the ROG Strix quality.
For the enthusiasts, the motherboard supports beautiful RGB lighting including back illumination.
All in all, if you are looking for a budget option for your AMD system, then this is one of the best motherboard with WiFi.
2. MSI B450 Gaming PRO Carbon AC – Recommended AMD Motheboard with WiFi
If you are looking for a mid-range motherboard that isn’t as limited as the ASUS ROG Strix B450-I above in terms of expandability, then we highly recommend this as one of the best motherboards with WiFi.
This motherboard has the average ATX form factor. Therefore, you will require an average chassis to fit it in unlike the mini ITX that can literally fit in a small cube box.
While this is certainly not the best AMD motherboard that you can find the market, for those looking for a rather affordable gaming rig, this can certainly be it.
The motherboard offers 1 x PCIe X16 v3.0 and 1 x PCIe X16 v2.0. Therefore, while they are both X16 PCIe slots as far as the physical size is concerned. However not only do they have different bandwidths but also different PCIe versions.
The PCIe X16 v2.0 slot only works in X4 mode and therefore is not suitable for graphics cards but instead suitable for smaller expansion card.
You must also note that this motherboard only supports 2-way CrossFire and does not support NVIDIA SLI. Therefore, if you want to build a system on this, build it with AMD Radeon graphics cards.
The reason for this is simple, NVIDIA SLI requires two x8 mode capable PCIe slots ATLEAST. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, the PCIe X16 v2.0 slot on this only works in X4 mode. Hence no support for SLI, but support for Crossfire is possible – Crossfire works on x4 albeit at reduced performance.
Overall if you are looking for a somewhat affordable motherboard for building a gaming or performance based desktop, this may interest you.
It offers dedicated gaming features including RGB lights, gaming hotkey, overclock support including XMP profiles for RAM.
One excellent feature it offers is that it supports 2 x M.2 slots. This means you expand your SSD storage capacity drastically along with RAID configuration should you wish.
Are Motherboards with Built in WiFi More Expensive?
Absolutely they are. Compare to non WiFi capable motherboards, these can cost much higher. In fact, if you were to buy a vanilla motherboard, and then buy a cheap USB WiFi modem, you could still save up a lot.
However, built in WiFi modems are generally much more optimized and offer better and stable connectivity than third party modems connected to USBs.
While USB modems may also have the same bandwidth as built in wireless cards, there are many other aspects to take into consideration. The biggest of which is latency.
The built in WiFi on motherboards have much lower latency as compared to USB modems.
To put in other words, buying an expensive high quality modem separately would bring the cost of a non-WiFi motherboard almost on par with WiFi motherboard.
What are the Cons of having a WiFi Onboard?
The biggest con is that they are not upgradable. If the WiFi technology changes or if you are not happy with the range of the built in WiFi modem, there is little you can do to improve it.
Most are divided between what is better: onboard WiFi or getting a PCIe WiFi Card. The issue is that a quality PCIe WiFi Card costs a significant sum. Even then, there is no guarantee if you will be satisfied with the performance.
Most of the gamers who cannot withstand an iota of delay vouch for Powerline Ethernet adapters. This is a special mode of WiFi connection that works similar to WiFi range extender but with Ethernet output.
In other words, whether you will like built in WiFi modem or not will depend upon many factors including the applications you use and your distance from the router.
Also Read: Powerline Adapter vs WiFi
Motherboard Built in WiFi Network Not Working – Solution
This is a pretty common issue for those who buy a WiFi enabled motherboard.
Basically, if the built in WiFi in your motherboard is not working, the issue mostly lies with the DRIVERS.
In other words, either you haven’t installed the driver properly or your driver is malfunctioning.
The best way to figure out if your system is actually detecting built in WiFi is to check the DEVICE MANAGER.
Within in DEVICE MANAGER check for a label called “Network Adapters”. Expand the selection and check to see if all your network adapters including WiFi, Bluetooth and LAN are SEPARATELY mentioned.
Many people often confuse LAN drivers with WiFi drivers. These are SEPARATE drivers that need to be downloaded and installed separately.
Also Read: Where is motherboard in Device Manager
Here we had a look at some of the best motherboards with WiFi for both Intel and AMD systems.
When you go hunting for a motherboard, it is essential that you consider future expansion prospects. If you believe you will grow your system with multiple SSD and multiple graphics cards, then a larger motherboard would be a better investment.
On the other hand, if you want to build a simple PC with a single or no graphic cards at all, then a mini ITX motherboard in a small chassis would do just fine.
Of course, choosing the right case/chassis is a whole different story and depends upon the components you install, but generally for budget system with low or mid-range graphics card, you can slap the motherboard inside any decent and affordable case without any issue.