The ASRock X399 Fatal1ty Professional/Gaming motherboard (that can only use an AMD Threadripper CPU) comes standard with an Intel AC 3168NGW, which is a - 3rd Generation 802.11ac, Dual Band, 1x1 Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2 - Wireless Networking Card which can provide up to 433Mbps of WIFI. And the motherboard comes with two antennas.
Now I have an Asus RT-AC3200 which is a tri-band router which features twin (i.e.- dual 5Ghz band) 3x3 802.11ac networks, and one 2.4GHz band. To make the most of its hardware, it has tri-band Smart Connect for intelligent band assignment for maximum device performance. Briefly explained: typically a WiFi network (either 5GHz or 2.4GHz) will operate at the speed of the slowest connected device, but with two identical 5GHz networks the router will intelligently split high performing (PCs or notebooks) from lower performing (phones and tablets) devices. That is to say that the Smart Connect feature automatically selects the band for all devices on an individual basis, depending on their demands and capabilities, whereby keeping the slower devises on a separate band than the faster devises. The Asus RT-AC3200 uses the two 802.11ac networks, each with a three transmit, three receive (3x3) antenna configuration. This is made possible by its six external high performance antennas, and allows more devices to connect faster with better stability. The two separate 5GHz wireless bands - each with speeds up to 1300 Mbps - and the single 600 Mbps, all working simultaneously with the Smart Connect feature to provide lag free gaming and smooth 4K video streaming for the fastest internet experience.
Now I have tried Goggling my concerns but it seems as if this subject has never been fully addresses before. Oh sure they talk about specs between the different kinds of protocols (i.e. - 1x1, 2x2, 3x3, and 4x4), but never as to whether or not one can physically get away with changing the one kind of M.2 card out for the other kind, and if they would benefit from doing such even if they could, nor whether as to if they would have to upgrade other stuff such as antennas.
So my questions are: (Keep in mind I still want Bluetooth 4.2)
1) Being the WiFi card is removable via a M.2 port, can this motherboard be fitted with another type M.2 WiFi card that can take full advantage of the routers dual 3x3 features for better internet connectivity?
2) And if so which type of WiFi card would it be (e.g.- dual 2x2, dual 3x3, or possibly some kind of 4x4 configuration)?
3) Would I loose PCIe lanes else where on the motherboard if I install a card that uses more lanes? Keep in mind that this PC will have a Ryzen Threadripper with 64 PCIe lanes of which four are dedicated to comunicating with the Chipset, and I think a total of four are dedicated for the intergrated 10Gigabit Ethernet port. I will be wanting to use up all the PCIe slots for other things so a PCIe WiFi adapter is out of the question for the most part, and I also have plans for all three of the onboard NVME PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 ports for other things as well, so I am wanting to use the dedicated M.2 port on the mother board for the WiFi and upgrade best as possible. Also using the U.2 port with some kind of adater would be out of the question as if I connect anything to it the first NVME PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 port will become disabled automatically.
4) And if I can upgrade the WiFi+BT M.2 adapter card would I need to do anything else such as replace and/or add more antennas, etc...?
(pictures added to help keep wording to a minimal)
Edited by TheTexasRAT, 01 October 2017 - 09:14 AM.