Whether your motherboard has Bluetooth depends upon whether it has a Wi-Fi card installed. If your motherboard has a built-in Wi-Fi card or a Wi-Fi expansion card installed separately in a PCIe slot, your motherboard will also have Bluetooth connectivity.
Unfortunately, it is also not uncommon to find most desktop motherboards lacking Bluetooth and Wi-Fi altogether.
Fortunately, if your motherboard does not feature Bluetooth or a Wi-Fi card, you can easily install one by getting a simple PCIe Wi-Fi expansion card.
Below we will look at whether motherboards have Bluetooth and how to 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 and listen to music via wireless headsets.
This is the same for computers since Bluetooth offers more connection features than 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 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 have built-in Bluetooth support.
Some reasons have been posited for this, including that since the desktop is not a mobile device, it can be connected with a more stable Ethernet (wired) via the modem.
Since Bluetooth comes coupled chiefly with a Wi-Fi card, lacking the Wi-Fi 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 undoubtedly find many desktop motherboard models with Bluetooth connectivity.
Unfortunately, those with a Wi-Fi 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 plays a role in determining if it has Bluetooth / Wi-Fi.
For instance, the giant ATX and Micro ATX motherboards may not have Bluetooth / Wi-Fi; in the budget range, they usually do not.
Mini ITX Motherboards, on the other hand, almost always have a Bluetooth / Wi-Fi card built in. Mini ITX is the minor form factor for a typical PC motherboard.
Hence, given its portability aspect and limited expansion capability for adding Bluetooth cards in the future (mini ITX has a single PCIe x16 slot generally used for the graphics card), they feature built-in Bluetooth / Wi-Fi.
When it comes to laptops, most, if not all, of the laptop motherboards feature Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
A mobile device laptop has to have Wi-Fi / Bluetooth for connectivity on the go.
Also Read: PCIe vs. USB Wi-Fi
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
By going to the device manager utility, you can check if your motherboard/PC has Bluetooth on a Windows PC.
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 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
- Your motherboard does have Bluetooth built-in but does 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 more definitive way to check whether your motherboard has Bluetooth is to read the official spec sheet.
You can often tell by looking at the motherboard whether it has Bluetooth.
A motherboard with antenna ports indicates that it has built-in Wi-Fi, which means it would have Bluetooth support (since Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are coupled together).
Take, for instance, ASRock-A520M-AC, as shown. This has a Wi-Fi card built-in and thus has Bluetooth connectivity, as shown in the specs below.
Another positive point about checking the Bluetooth specs is that it tells you the Bluetooth version. This motherboard, unfortunately, has the older Bluetooth v4.2.
Therefore, 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 also find a standalone Bluetooth USB adapter, meaning they would NOT be coupled with a Wi-Fi card.
2. Using a PCIe Card
If you want a more robust in-built solution, then a PCIe card can best fit your problem.
PCIe cards tend to be faster and more reliable than USB cards. They also tend to feature newer versions 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 Wi-Fi card.
So the answer to the question “do motherboards have Bluetooth?” is not definitive. It depends on 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 add Bluetooth capability to a motherboard that doesn’t ship with the feature.
This involves buying an extra USB dongle or a PCIe WiFI card coupled with Bluetooth.
Also Read: What are USB Headers?