Pros: Fast, great reception, bf3 gaming with ease
Cons: cant think of any
I would first like to say that a usb wifi adapter may surprise you with what its capable of. It can do online gaming easily. Not to mention depending on which you buy, you can select 2.4ghz or 5ghz which I havent seen dual band pci/pci-e cards at a decent price. I have recently started gaming on wifi and have been happy with my pci-e x1 wifi card/adapter but the move to an mATX case made the choice to try a usb wifi adapter worthwhile since one of my asus gtx570 fans were blocked by the card. Here is what I think about the asus usb-n53 usb adapter I purchased. Please keep in mind my ISP is the bottleneck on wireless speeds.
Asus usb 2.0 usb-n53 dual band (2.4ghz/5ghz) wireless adapter
I have been using the asus wifi adapter for about 4 days now and am extremly pleased. Installation was simple, windows 7 didnt find a driver but the included cd took care of the drivers. Whats on the cd is the current driver from the asus site as well. Due to newegg not having this item yet, I think it might be new since the drivers on the cd were current as well. This may be a love it or hate it but the diamond pattern on the asus looks pretty nice and has blue status led's too. It came with a nice usb extension that would allow you to position the card to your liking. I personally have it connected through a usb extension cord about 5ft in length and it sits on top of my desk. I used the belkin i mention below in the same manor.
I am about 30ft from my netgear wndr3700v2 and have 3 walls between the router and the asus adapter. I have through windows full reception 5/5 bars on 2.4ghz and 4/5 bars on 5ghz. A belkin unit i returned after using the asus would have 4/5bars on 2.4ghz and 3/5bars on 5ghz. The belkin I mostly returned due to heat produced and cheap enclosure appearance.
I have used www.bandwidthplace.com and www.speakeasy.net to test speeds and both sites seem to use the same method of testing so I have stuck with bandwidth place for ease of site navigation. The asus wifi adapter matches and sometimes outperforms my dlink pci-e wireless card by about 2-3Mb/sec, both perfectly accomplished online gaming. 5ghz tends to have higher peaks by 1-2Mb/sec than 2.4ghz as well, these numbers are limited to my ISP but Im getting anywhere from 22-31Mb/sec total bandwidth on wifi which is consistent with the pc hardwired to the router.
Aside from "benchmarks" the main real world use has been BF3 64player gaming which it does flawlessly. If you didnt know you were on wifi you would think its on a LAN connection, pings are in the 40s with good servers when previously I dont recall getting anything under 60. Gaming on 2.4ghz and 5ghz feels the same even though 5ghz has 4/5bars. Another real world test was downloading NFS:the run from orgin (aprox 8GB download). It did the whole download at 2.2MB/sec with peaks at 3.0MB/sec in the beginning. Gaming and the download I performed at seperate times. I monitored the asus wifi adapter temps durring all use; at most it got warm, not hot like a belkin dual band one I used previously.
Overall I am extremly pleased with the performance of the asus usb-n53, it exceeded all expectations of what a usb adapter could do and I really wish I would have purchased this over the more expensive pci-e adapter I originally bought less than a year ago.
I personally didnt use the included software, just the driver. I prefer letting windows do its thing and have less startup programs, one nice thing worth noting is that it lets you select driver only.
Hope this helps, this was my first review
the pci-e wireless card I had previously been using:
edit: typo corrections