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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 review: The ultimate router for gamers and nerds

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is massive and fast but only gamers and geeks can appreciate it features. Here's CNET's full review.

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Dong Ngo
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Dong Ngo

SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

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4 min read

With a street price ranging from $320 to more than $400, Asus' ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 is expensive for a reason. It's the only router on the market that combines powerful hardware specs, eight Gigabit LAN ports and a ton of features geared toward gaming

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8.3

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

The Good

The GT-AC5300 has fast performance, excellent Wi-Fi range and includes loads of unique gaming-centric features. The router has free built-in lifetime protection against online threats, has eight Gigabit LAN ports, and can combine two of them into a superfast connection.

The Bad

The router is bulky, expensive and generally overkill for most homes' needs. Its interface can be daunting, and its mobile app only works locally.

The Bottom Line

The Asus GT-AC5300 is the ultimate Wi-Fi router for hardcore gamers and geeks.

If online games are what you care deeply about, this is an excellent router. But that said, for most other home users, the Asus RT-AC88U or the RT-AC5300 will deliver the same experience for less money.

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The GT-AC5300 comes with eight Gigabit LAN ports and eight removable antennas.

Dong Ngo/CNET

Powerful hardware, common feature set

The GT-5300 looks exactly the same as the RT-AC5300 that came out some two years ago, with a large squarish design and eight antennas. It also shares the same Wi-Fi standard as its older sibling. Both are tri-band routers with two 5-gigahertz bands, each with a top speed of 2,167Mbps. A third 2.4GHz band tops out at 1,000Mbps. The router also supports MU-MIMO, allowing it to support devices on multiple Wi-Fi tiers without slowing any of them down.

In fact,  the GT-AC5300 shares a common feature set with most previous Asus high end routers, including:

  • Dual-WAN: You can turn one of its LAN port into a second WAN port to host two broadband connections at the same time
  • Link aggregation: You can combine two of its LAN ports into a single 2Gbps connection, a useful feature if you have a server that also supports this.
  • Free life-time built-in protection: The router works with TrendMicro to protect the entire network (including IoT smart devices) against online threats.
  • Advanced network monitoring and Quality of Service (QoS, also called Quality of Control) features: You can monitor the traffic in real time and set up QoS to prioritize internet services to individual client in the network.
  • Advanced USB-based features: You can use the USB port to host storage devices or other peripheral devices, including a cellular dongle.

Unique gaming features

The GT-AC5300 is also very different from the RT-AC5300, with eight LAN ports instead of four. (The Asus RT-AC88U -- which is basically a dual-band version of the RT-AC5300 -- also has eight LAN ports.) More ports means you can connect more devices using network cables, something that works better for games than connecting via Wi-Fi. The GT-AC5300 also doubles the amount of system memory to 512MB and internal flash memory to 1GB.

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The GT-AC5300's interface, though well-organized, can be daunting to home users.

Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

What makes the GT-AC5300 really stand out is its support for online gaming. Most of the router's features have many preconfigured settings to support hundreds of popular games. For example, if you want Diablo 3 to have priority on your home network, you can just select it from a list, instead of having to program all the settings manually. Best of all, the router can work as a WTFast client, allowing it to automatically connect to the Gamers Private Network (GPN). With this in place, your entire home network is part of GPN and you won't need to run WTFast on your computer anymore. GPN automatically selects the best server for any game you're playing, allowing for the best possible connection with the lowest latency.

Daunting interface, limited mobile app

The support for games also brings about a drawback, however; specifically the interface. The GT-AC5300's interface is similar to that of the RT-AC5300 or the RT-AC88U. It's quite well-organized, and for the most part is easy to use, but the ROG (Republic of Gamers) theme, with bright red colors and tons of animated graphics, can, to the uninitiated, be confusing at best and daunting at worst.

The web interface also has too many preconfigured settings for games, and it's laden with gamer-specific lingo. If you want to program the router for something unrelated to gaming, you'll have hard time finding the right section to start with. For example, the built-in protection function of the router, which is normally aptly called AiProtection, is called Game IPS on the GT-AC5300's interface. Similarly, the QoS feature is called Game Boost, and so on.

The interface isn't the worst thing in the world, and you can probably get used to it after a while. Still, the router would be much more user-friendly if it had an option to change the theme to match that of other Asus routers.

With the GT-AC5300, Asus has also introduced a mobile app, called Asus Router, that's much easier to use and allows users to do most of what they can with the interface. However, this mobile app only works locally, when your phone is connected the router's Wi-Fi network.

Performance

The GT-AC5300 did well in my testing, registering a top sustained Wi-Fi speed of almost 750Mps on the 5GHz band. Its 2.4GHz performance wasn't as impressive, however, coming in at about 90Mbps. This is a normal for most recent high-end routers, where the 2.4GHz frequency is there only for compatibility. The router also delivered a Wi-Fi signal over a very long range. I was able to get a sustained speed of more than 100Mbps from 150 feet away.

CNET Labs 5GHz Wi-Fi performance

Asus ROG GT-AC5300 742.2 546.6Netgear R7800 785.2 538.3Linksys EA9500 685.2 496Synology RT2600ac 715.6 453.6Asus RT-AC88U 643.6 345.2D-Link DIR-868L 271 221D-Link DIR-880L 525.6 212.8TP-Link Talon 574 192Netgear R9000 533 172.6Synology RT1900AC 586.8 70.9
  • Close range
  • Long range
Note: Measured in megabits per second. Longer bars mean better performance.

The router passed my 48-hour stress test, during which I set it to transfer a large amount of data between multiple clients, and it didn't disconnect once.

I tried out most of the the gaming features with a few games including Diablo 3 and Start Craft 2, which worked as intended. It was impossible for me to test them all since the list of supported games is quite long.

Should you get it?

If you play games often and you can afford it, the GT-AC5300 is the best router you can get. Just be prepared to handle its interface. On the other hand, if gaming is low on your priority list, many other routers, especially the Asus RT-5300, and better yet, the RT-AC88U, will give you a very similar experience at a lower cost.

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8.3

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

Score Breakdown

Setup 7Features 9Performance 9
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