Whether your motherboard has Bluetooth depends upon whether it has a WiFi card installed or not. If your motherboard has a built-in WiFi card or a WiFi expansion card installed separately in a PCIe slot, then your motherboard will have Bluetooth connectivity as well.
Unfortunately, it is also not uncommon to find most desktop motherboards lacking Bluetooth and WiFi altogether.
Fortunately, if your motherboard does not feature a Bluetooth or a WiFi card, you can easily install one by getting a simple PCIe WiFi expansion card.
Below we will look in detail at whether motherboards have Bluetooth and how tell if your motherboard has the feature.
Bluetooth is the desired method of connectivity these days because it offers low cost and low power wireless connections over a short distance, allowing users to do things like make and receive phone calls as well as listen to music via wireless headsets.
This is the same for computers since Bluetooth offers more connection features apart from just media consumption.
Premium PC peripherals such as wireless keyboards and mice along with headsets and speakers all come with the option to connect via Bluetooth.
So essentially, Bluetooth connectivity can provide you with a cable-free, neat and clean connectivity for your peripherals.
Also Read: Onboard Wi-Fi vs Wi-Fi Card vs Wi-Fi USB
So Do Motherboards Have Bluetooth?
Many desktop motherboards in the budget and mid range price category do not come with built-in Bluetooth support.
Some reasons have been posited for this including the fact that since desktop is not a mobile device, it can instead be connected with the more stable Ethernet connection (wired) via the modem.
Since Bluetooth comes mostly coupled with a WiFi card, hence lacking the WiFi card also means the same for Bluetooth (in most cases).
So to put it simply:
Most average desktop motherboards DO NOT feature Bluetooth connectivity.
However, you can certainly find many desktop motherboard models that do come with Bluetooth connectivity.
Unfortunately those that do come with a WiFi card / Bluetooth built-in are slightly more expensive than their non-Bluetooth counterparts.
Mini ITX Desktop Motherboards Have Bluetooth (Typically)
Also, the form factor of the motherboard also plays a role in determining if it has Bluetooth / WiFi or not.
For instance, the larger ATX and Micro ATX motherboard may not have Bluetooth / WiFi and in the budget range, they usually do not.
Mini ITX Motherboards, on the other hand, almost always have a Bluetooth / WiFi card built in. This is the Mini ITX is the smallest form factor for a typically PC motherboard.
Hence given its portability aspect and the fact that it has a very limited expansion capability for adding Bluetooth card in the future (mini ITX has a single PCIe x16 slot generally used for the graphics card), they feature built-in Bluetooth / WiFi.
When it comes to laptops most, if not all, of the laptop motherboards feature Bluetooth and WiFi.
Laptop being a mobile device has to have a WiFi / Bluetooth for connectivity on the go.
Also Read: PCIe vs USB WiFi
How to Check if Your PC or Motherboard has Bluetooth?
There are two easy ways to check if your motherboard or your PC in general has Bluetooth connectivity:
1. Check for Bluetooth Using the Device Manager
On a Windows PC, you can check if your motherboard/PC has Bluetooth by going to the device manager utility.
On Windows 10, click the Start Icon and search for the program by typing “Device Manager”.
Once selected, it will open in a new window where you need to look for the Bluetooth icon.
Finding the Bluetooth icon will mean that your computer has the necessary hardware to connect to Bluetooth devices.
If you do not find this icon, that could mean two things:
- Your motherboard does not have a built-in Bluetooth
- You do have Bluetooth built-in but do not have the necessary drivers. This issue can be resolved by downloading and installing the required drives from the manufacturer’s official website.
2. Check the Official Motherboard Specsheet
The second and the more definitive way to check if your motherboard has Bluetooth or not is to read the official spec sheet.
Often you can tell just by looking at the motherboard whether it has Bluetooth or not.
A motherboard with antenna ports indicates that it has built-in WiFi, which in turn means that it would have Bluetooth support (since WiFi and Bluetooth are coupled together).
Take for instance ASRock-A520M-AC as shown. This has the WiFi card built-in and thus has Bluetooth connectivity as shown in the specs below.
Another positive point about checking the specs for Bluetooth is that it tells you the Bluetooth version as well. This motherboard, unfortunately, has the older Bluetooth v4.2.
Therefore as compared to Bluetooth 5.0, 5.2 or newer standards, this has lower speeds, range, higher power requirements, reduced support for IoT devices etc
Adding Bluetooth to a Motherboard
If your motherboard doesn’t have Bluetooth there are two simple ways to add this feature to your PC:
1. Bluetooth USB Adapter
USB Bluetooth adapters are relatively cheap and very easy to come by. They offer the same usability as a built-in Bluetooth module would.
You can find standalone Bluetooth USB adapter as well; meaning that they would NOT be coupled with a WiFi card.
2. Using a PCIe Card
If you want a more robust in-built solution then a PCIe card can be the best fit for your problem.
PCIe cards tend to be faster and more reliable than USB cards. They also tend to feature newer version of Bluetooth more readily.
However, you will need a free PCIe slot in your PC to add these. Additionally, you cannot find a standalone Bluetooth PCIe card. PCIe Bluetooth always comes coupled with a WiFi card.
So the answer to the question “do motherboards have Bluetooth?” is not a definitive one. It depends upon what motherboard you have.
A laptop motherboard does come with Bluetooth. However, when it comes to desktops, not all motherboards do.
If your motherboard does not come with Bluetooth connectivity then fortunately there are ways to go about adding Bluetooth capability to a motherboard that doesn’t ship with the feature.
This involves buying an extra USB dongle or a PCIe WiFI card that come coupled with Bluetooth.