Does anyone still own a desktop that doesn’t support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth? Well, I happen to own one, and it’s a 6-year old MSI Z87 mainboard. When D-Link Singapore passed me the DWA-X582 to review, it turned out to be the best upgrade for my desktop – my primary workhorse for all my audio projects and photo editing tasks. Imagine a computer without Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, with just a S$69 hardware inserted into the free PCIe slot inside the chassis, it can now be free from wires to connect to any device around it.
One of the reasons for not installing a Wi-Fi hardware is the lack of confidence in achieving the same speeds as my current setup. My desktop is the only computing device that is getting data from LAN cable connection, although it still has to go through the secondary mesh node in my study room via wireless to my main mesh node living room. Yet, it still delivers the highest throughput among all my wireless devices, averaging 380 Mbps. In the past, I have also tried USB Wi-Fi adapters (N300) and they perform miserably, achieving around 20Mbps on average. I highly discourage anyone from getting the USB dongles unless you get the higher-spec AC1200 versions.
Unboxing and Installation
The DWA-X582 comes with a small PCB, a low-profile bracket, an external antenna base and removable antennae. A large red heatsink keeps the chip running cool. To enable Bluetooth 5.1, connect the internal cable to a F-USB port on the mainboard.
The most tedious part of the installation is to find an available PCI-Express slot that is not blocked by existing cards. Eventually, I spotted a spare slot above the graphics card, carefully inserted the DWA-X582 into the slot, and connected the rest of the components.
I really like the magnetic antenna base with velvet pad, which allows it to sit securely on any part of the desktop chassis without scratching it.
Once the OS is booted, it will auto-install the necessary drivers and you can see the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icons at the task bar. Then you just select the Wi-Fi network to connect and pair the Bluetooth device. If you want, you can also install the driver software from the D-Link support website, but it does not offer new features other than updating the firmware version.
The DWA-X582 works without a hitch, just like a computer with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. But the DWA-X582 has higher specifications, supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 with speeds up to 2400 Mbps, and the newer Bluetooth 5.1 standard. When I ran a network speed test with FAST.COM on my existing Wi-Fi mesh AC1200 system, I could get almost 200 Mbps, which is similar to what I get on my smartphones. When I tested it with the new D-Link DIR-X5460 (AX5400) mesh router, I am getting 350 Mbps, which is really close to what I would get from my previous setup.
It goes to show 2 things:
- You get higher throughput when you connect directly using the Ethernet port to a mesh router compared to Wi-Fi
- Wi-Fi 6 AX can deliver higher throughput compared to previous-generation Wi-Fi
I am glad that there is no significant speed degradation between the Ethernet connection and the Wi-Fi 6 connection, but for sure, an Ethernet connection will be much more stable.
The Bluetooth 5.1 supports a wider range of products and delivering lower latency and lower battery consumption. However, it does not support premium audio codecs when connected to Bluetooth headphones.
At the price of S$69, the D-Link DWA-X582 is competitively priced, possibly one of the lowest-priced AX3000 Wi-Fi PCIe cards that comes with Bluetooth 5.1 and external antenna base. If I were to be shopping on Shopee or Lazada, I would pick the DWA-X582 up over other models. If your desktop is next to your mesh node, I still recommend you connect directly to the node to get higher throughput. If your current router supports Wi-Fi 6, then the DWA-X582 would be the one to get. If you are still in the older Wi-Fi standard, then you might just shop for a comparable PCIe adapter at a lower price, or still get the DWA-X582 which is backward compatible, in case you upgrade your router in the near future.
- Latest Wi-Fi 6 standard delivering excellent throughput
- Supports Bluetooth 5.1
- Antenna with magnetic base that can be placed on desktop without toppling
- Small PCB that does not occupy a lot of space
- Runs with standard Windows drivers
- Requires more work to install compared to USB adapters