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The 10 Best Network Cards  May 2020

Results are Based on 7,016 reviews scanned

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Best Network Cards - Intel Gigabit CT PCI-E Network Adapter EXPI9301CTBLK Review Intel
9 . 7
Best Network Cards - 1 Port PCIe Network Card - Low Review StarTech
9 . 5
Best Network Cards - TP-Link AC1200 PCIe WiFi Card for PC |Bluetooth Review TP-Link
9 . 2
Best Network Cards - Ziyituod Gigabit Ethernet Card, 4-Port PCI-E Network Interface Review Ziyituod
8 . 8
Best Network Cards - Ubit RJ45 x 2 Gigabit LAN,Gigabit Ethernet PCI Review Ubit
8 . 6
Best Network Cards - Jeirdus with Intel Chipset 82546 Dual Port Gigabit Review Jeirdus
8 . 3
Best Network Cards - TP-Link AC1300 PCIe Wireless Wifi PCIe Card | Review TP-Link
8 . 0
Best Network Cards - TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000 PCIe WiFi Card | Review TP-Link
7 . 7
Best Network Cards - Intel EXPI9301CTBLK 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI-Express Network Adapter Review Intel
7 . 3
Best Network Cards - Intel Single Port 1 Gigabit Server Adapter Ethernet Review Dell
7 . 3

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Your Guide To Buying a Network Card

By #<Author:0x00007f441e497780>

    In today's day and age, it's almost assumed that you will buy a computer for Internet access. You'll want to retrieve information from the Internet, as well as send emails and documents. A network interface card, or NIC, allows your computer to exchange information over the Internet. The network card can either work on a wired connection (like Ethernet) or a wireless connection (like WiFi). Most computers have an Ethernet jack already built into the motherboard (it looks like a telephone jack, just a little wider). You then insert an Ethernet cable from your modem into your computer. But there can be situations in which you'll want to, or will have to, install a network card. Here is a guide to some of the best network cards on the market.  

    • Ethernet Network Interface Card: This is a card that you can insert into your desktop computer, either into the PCI or PCI Express slot.

      • The PCI slot is a white slot in your motherboard.

      • The PCI Express slot is colored yellow. They offer a range of bandwidths: PCI Express x 1 offers a bandwidth of 250 MB/s. That will fit in a short yellow slot. The PCI Express x 16 offers a bandwidth of 8 GB/s. That will fit a long yellow slot.

    • USB adapter: This is not really a network “card”, but it can also get you Internet access. This USB adapter for the Ethernet can be plugged into any available USB port in your computer. You then insert an Ethernet cable in the other side.

    • Wireless network adapter: This is a network interface that transmits and receives information by means of radio waves. You insert the WiFi network adapter card, and it will detect wireless networks in the area of your computer.

    • Modem: The word modem is an abbreviation for modulator/demodulator. It takes a modulated signal from another computer that is sent over the phone line, and converts it (demodulates it) to binary data—0's and 1's. The computer then interprets those 0's and 1's as data.

    Based on all the consumers' reviews we've scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:

    • Works at gigabit speeds: People will want their network card to work with fast Internet. Make sure that the network card can support 1000 Megabits/second (=1 Gigabit/second).

    • Drivers for your card: Make sure that you can get the drivers for your card. A device driver is a computer program that operates the device on your operating system. For example, if you have an older version of Windows, you might not be able to get compatible drivers for new network cards. Often the network card will come with an installation disc, which will allow installing on all the current operating systems.

    • Latency: Some customers complain that the card's performance tends to slow down as it heats up. This is referred to as “latency”, or time delay. If your Internet connection is unusually slow, by doing a “ping” test, you can find out if there is some problem with the network card's performance. 

    • Number of Ethernet ports: Ethernet network cards are not limited to only one Ethernet cable. Some can accept 2 or even 4 cables. You'll see cards that are 1 port, 2-port, or 4-port. This will allow you to hook up a computer to 4 other computers directly with an Ethernet cable.

    • Cabling type: You'll see network cards that receive various data rates: For example:

      • Ethernet 10Base-T—indicates that it will receive up to 10 Megabits per second.

      • Ethernet 100Base-TX—indicates that it will receive up to 100 Megabits per second. This is the most common Fast Ethernet standard.

      • Ethernet 1000Base-T—indicates that it will receive up to 1000 Megabits per second. With today's fast Internet downloading speeds, you'll clearly want a network card that can support this speed.

        Some words of explanation:

        • “Base” here means that the cable has baseband signaling, where only one signal—the Ethernet signal--is transmitted over the wire. (This is as opposed to “broadband”, where many signals are sent over a wire.)

        • T and TX indicate that it employs twisted-pair cables with different types of encoding. (There are also FX, SX, BX and LX, which involve fiber optic cables.)

    • Indicator lights: An Ethernet network card will have two indicator lights.

      • The green LED indicates Link/Activity. If it is blinking, that means that there is a signal coming through. If the LED is not lit, there is no link.

      • The amber LED indicates the speed of the connection: If it is lit, the network card is operating as a Gigabit connection of 1000 Mbps. If it is off, that means that the modem is working as a 10 Mbps connection.

    Intelis the world's largest semiconductor chip maker. They were founded in 1968 by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, and are located in Santa Clara, California. They make computer processors, motherboard chipsets, network interface controllers, graphics chips, and more.

    Rosewill—was established in 2004, and have their headquarters in City of Industry, California. They make computer components: cases, power supplies, and peripherals. They also make products for PC Gaming, IT hardware, as well as kitchen products.

    StarTechwas founded in 1985 by Paul Seed and Ken Kalopsis. Their office is based in London, Ontario, Canada. They make audio-video products, cables, computer hardware and peripherals, and network adapters.

    Alytimes—is a company based in Shenzhen, China. They make products for digital video processing, image processing, IP network cameras and more.

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