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Big, ugly, but plenty powerful – MBReviews

Underneath the seemingly superficial layer of gaming-enhancing features, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 is one the best dual-band WiFi 6 router that the manufacturer has developed so far, and it has held that status for about two years before Asus decided to release the RT-AX88U Pro.

And this is one of the main reasons why I decided to check out the GT-AX6000 because it seems that the RT-AX88U Pro is essentially the same device minus the ROG features and, at the same time, Asus also wanted the ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 to be a soft of successor to the RT-AX86U or perhaps the RT-AX82U, the latter also pushing the WiFi limits with its powerful RGB.

At the same time, the ROG gaming routers series has recently gained both a WiFi 6E and even a WiFi 7 member, so is the RT-AX86U truly outdated and should we quickly move on to the next big thing? If you have the RT-AX86U, keep it, but I won’t deny that the ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 is also very well equipped and seems to be a phenomenal router. It offers two 2.5GbE ports and you can use them for dual-WAN purposes.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 WiFi 6 Router

There’s OFDMA, 1024QAM and 160MHz channel bandwidth, and, of course, it’s very much possible to add the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 to an AiMesh network. Furthermore, the router does cater to the gaming community, so expect it to be weirdly shaped, to have RGB and some gaming-related features. These include Triple-level Game Acceleration (basically a slightly enhanced QoS), the VPN Fusion and the Mobile Game Mode. If all of this sound great to you, then let’s put the the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 to the test and see how it performs.

Design and Build Quality

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 sports a rectangular plastic case, kind of, because there are various parts sticking out, lots of geometrical patterns with the culmination of four dedicated areas to add the humongous four antennas, one for each of the device’s corners. So, it’s basically a drone, just add four propellers instead of the antennas and let it fly, the CPU can handle it (it’s a joke, don’t destroy your router).

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 – the menancing antennas!

The four antennas are removable, and each has a red plastic portion which I assumed were for some LEDs to shine through – it would have justified the weird shape, but no, they’re there just for show and serve no purpose above creating a gaming device aesthetic. But don’t worry, there is RGB and it’s the ROG logo at the top of the case (which, by the way, it’s covered by a black matte finish). This RGB light can be adjusted from the software, as well as turned off from one of the front-facing buttons.

The other button enabled WPS which I suggest you don’t use it due to potential security risks. Let’s talk a bit about the size of the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000. It measures 13.0 x 6.6 x 2.6 inches (or 33.0 x 16.8 x 6.6cm) and it weighs 2.47lbs (1.1 kg), so it’s both very large and heavy, and you do have to plan where you’re going to put it, especially due to the two antennas that sit at the front. The manufacturer has added four silicone feet to keep the device into place (the weight is pretty much enough to keep it steady) and I also noticed two mounting holes, so yes, it is possible to mount the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 on the wall (although the antennas would again make things complicated).

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The top of the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000


As expected, the router relies on passive cooling, so there are ventilation holes on the bottom, at the top (within the circuit-like pattern) and on the sides, but is it enough to keep the temperature in check? I took a thermal camera and saw that the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 was indeed able to keep the temperature at a proper level, so there is pretty much no risk for overheating, unless you block the ventilation holes (don’t).

asus-rog-rapture-gt-ax600-wifi-6-router-thermal-management asus-rog-rapture-gt-ax600-wifi-6-router-thermal-management
The thermal management of the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 WiFi 6 router.

On the front of the WiFi 6 router, there is an array of LEDs, showing the status of the Power, the two WiFi radios, the 2.5GbE WAN port, the 2.5GbE LAN port, the WPS and the LAN. I would have liked to have separate LEDs for the LAN ports, but I guess it’s still better than what other manufacturers have been offering (that annoying single LED).

On the other side, there is a USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0 port (for a printer and a storage device), followed by four Gigabit LAN ports (and yes, the LAN 1 is a Gaming port, as we saw on the RT-AX86U). Afterwards, we are greeted by the 2.5GbE WAN port and the 2.5GbE LAN port (which can also act as the secondary WAN port), the recessed Reset button, the Power switch and the Power port.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 ports

Internal Hardware (Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 Teardown)

Do you want to know why nobody else on the web has tried to open up the quite popular Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000? It’s because it takes the top spot for the worst design I have ever encountered on a router. Everything was thought to serve the means to block the user to easily open up the case and seriously, when dealing with a device that costs almost half a grand, you should have the option to safely repair it.

But it’s better to fill up the land with e-waste than to leave the repair by third parties’ option open. That being said, be aware that not only you will most likely void the warranty if you open up the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000, you may also break it, so consider yourself warned.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 Teardown process.

The first thing that you need to do is to remove the four screws from the bottom of the router, but there is one more, in the middle, underneath the label which acts as a huge warranty seal (it’s almost impossible to remove cleanly). There is more because there is an actual warranty seal on the screw, so even if you managed to get this far, the warranty is gone.

From here on things get much worse because I assumed that I could just pry the case open by carefully detaching the upper part. And it will detach a few inches but the top will not come off. That’s because the stupidly-placed antenna connectors on the sides stand in the way. So I took the prying tool and tried to detach the small portions that surrounded the antenna connectors, but they creaked so badly, I was sure the plastic would break. A few minutes later, I said whatever happens, happens (money down the drain), so I forcefully tried to pop off the sections around the connectors.

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Internal hardware of the GT-AX6000.

Apparently, that’s how you’re supposed to do, because they flew across the room, but still remained intact, somehow. That’s about it for the rant, so let’s see the main components. The PCB is almost as large as the case itself and there is a heatsink on the right covering the WiFi chips: there’s a Broadcom BCM6715KFBG 802.11a/b/g/n/ax 4×4:4 chip (along with 4x Skyworks SKY85331-11 front-end modules) for the 2.4GHz radio and another Broadcom BCM6715KFBG chip (802.11a/n/ac/ax), also 4×4:4 and with 4x Skyworks SKY85743-21 front-end modules for the 5GHz radio.

I was a bit confused when I saw that the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 unit that I purchased used the Broadcom platform, instead of the initially advertised Qualcomm platform, but it seems that the router that I test is actually version 2. Moving on, I took the metallic piece from the left of the board to reveal a metallic cover and the 512MB of NAND flash memory from MXIC (MX30LF2G28AD-TI). To see the rest, I had to turn the PCB upside down and, after removing the large metallic cover, I could identify the quad-core 2.0GHz Broadcom BCM4912 chipset (it’s also the switch chip for the Gigabit ports), the Broadcom BCM50991E switch chip for the 2.5GbE ports and 2X 512MB (amount to 1GB) RAM from SKHynix (H5AN4G6NBJR).

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000TP-Link Archer AX3200Asus RT-AX86UNetgear RAX40
CPUquad-core 2.0GHz Broadcom BCM4912quad-core 1.5GHz Broadcom BCM6755KFEBGquad-core 1.8GHz Broadcom BCM4908KFEBGdual-core 800MHz Intel (Lantiq) PXB4395
RAM1GB (2X 512MB) SKHynix (H5AN4G6NBJR)256MB ESMT M15T4G16256Aquad-core 1.8GHz Broadcom BCM4908KFEBG512MB from Samsung
Storage512MB MXIC (MX30LF2G28AD-TI)128MB ESMT (F50L1G41A)256MB Macronix MXIC MX30LF2G189C-TI256MB Macronix MX30LF2G18AC-TI
SwitchBroadcom BCM50991EBroadcom BCM53134SKFBG + Broadcom BCM54991ELBroadcom BCM54991EIntel AnyWAN GRX350
5GHz Radio 1Broadcom BCM6715KFBG 802.11a/n/ac/ax 4×4:4Broadcom BCM6755KFEBG 802.11a/n/ac/ax 2×2:2Broadcom BCM43684KRFBG 802.11a/n/ac/ax 4×4:4Intel WAV654 802.11a/n/ac/ax 2×2:2
5GHz Radio 2Broadcom BCM43684KRFBG 802.11a/n/ac/ax 4×4:3
2.4GHz RadioBroadcom BCM6715KFBG 802.11a/b/g/n/ax 4×4:4Broadcom BCM6755KFEBG 802.11b/g/n/ax 2×2:2Broadcom BCM6710KFFBG 802.11b/g/n/ax 3×3:3Intel WAV654 802.11b/g/n+ax 2×2:2

Lastly, although not as relevant as one may think, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 features a maximum theoretical data transfer rate of 1,148Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio band and up to 4,804Mbps on the 5GHz radio band.

The WiFi Features

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 offers a very similar set of features that enhance the WiFi performance, so, as expected, there’s OFDMA to help with any latency related-issues in very crowded environments (with lots of wireless access points and client devices). And you do need to enable it from the software – I liked that you get the option to enable it for DL and UL (or separate), a flexibility that most brands don’t offer.

The reason why this feature is disabled by default is because there aren’t as many WiFi 6 client devices out there as you may think, despite the push for WiFi 6E and even WiFi 7 equipment and, to make use of all the advantages that come with the newer WiFi standard, you do need compatible client devices. This remains true for the flagship features of the last WiFi gen, such as MU-MIMO and BeamForming because while these can improve the performance in certain conditions, you’re not going to see any difference if the client devices don’t support them.

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The ROG line.

And you will see on the testing section that using WiFi 5 client devices, the performance of the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 doesn’t differ that much from the better AC routers. The router also supports the 160MHz channel bandwidth and it will automatically move to DFS channels to gain a decent wireless throughput. The problem is that Asus has made some changes over the last few firmware updates and some people have complained that the 5GHz network would become invisible when set up to 160MHz. I experienced the same thing and I know that it is possible that there was some meteorologic or military radar nearby, but I checked other routers that could also use 160MHz.

And they were visible when using those channels. So, for whatever reason, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 struggles with false positives. I did have to use the channel 52 for the following tests (which is not really ideal) even with Merlin third-party software, but that didn’t make any difference. It’s worth noting that the firmware that the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 used was the latest at the time of writing (3.0.0.4.388_22525). Lastly, I would like to mention the support for AiMesh, so the router can be added to a larger mesh network where it can work either as a mesh node or a main unit.

The Wireless Test (5GHz)

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Asus GT-AX6000 vs RT-AX86U vs TP-Link AX73 – 5GHz – 80MHz – 5 feet – Upstream – Long-term wireless performance.

The testing procedure is the same as with the other WiFi 6 routers: I connected three client devices to the 5GHz network, two are WiFi 5 and one is WiFi 6, first using the 160MHz channel bandwidth, afterwards switching to the 80MHz – the server device had a 2.5GbE port, so there was no Gigabit limitation in place.

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Asus GT-AX6000 vs RT-AX86U vs TP-Link AX73 – 5GHz – 160MHz – 5 feet – Upstream – Long-term wireless performance.

And then I checked the throughput upstream and downstream at various distances, while also taking into account the attenuation (as shown by the client device). The same approach has been taken when checking the speed performance on the 2.4GHz network. That being said, I first checked the speed when the WiFi 6 client device was connected to the 5GHz network (160MHz) with OFDMA and MU-MIMO enabled and, upstream, I measured an average of 1,188Mbps at 5 feet and the over-Gigabit performance remained even at 30 feet, where I saw an average of 1,124Mbps.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 – Wireless Test – 5GHz (80MHz) – Upstream – WiFi 6 and WiFi 5 client devices.

Downstream, I saw an average of 480Mbps at 5 feet and an average of 427Mbps at 30 feet, all that while the attenuation varied between -36 and -51dB, so pretty impressive. Even at 70 feet, the farthest I went and which is the spot where most wireless router struggle to offer a decent performance, I measured an average of 200Mbps up and 124Mbps downstream.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 – Wireless Test + Attenuation (-dB) – 5GHz (80MHz) – WiFi 6 and WiFi 5 client devices – Upstream

The attenuation was -80dB, so again, very impressive and an excellent range. Switching to the 80MHz channel bandwidth, but still keeping the WiFi 6 client device (Intel AX200), I saw an average of 921Mbps at 5 feet and an average of 202Mbps at 45 feet, all upstream. Downstream, I saw an average of 416Mbps at 5 feet and 177Mbps at 45 feet. At 70 feet (-83dB), the throughput was still fairly decent: 91.9Mbps up and 55.7Mbps downstream.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 – Wireless Test – 5GHz (80MHz) – Downstream – WiFi 6 and WiFi 5 client devices.

Moving forward, I checked the first WiFi 5 client device, the laptop equipped with an Intel 8265 adapter, and, at 5 feet, I saw an average of 620Mbps upstream and 209Mbps downstream. At 45 feet, I measured an average of 283Mbps up and 161Mbps downstream, while at 70 feet (-80dB), I saw an average of 66Mbps up and 78.3Mbps downstream.

asus-rog-rapture-gt-ax6000-wifi-6-router-5ghz-test-signal-downstream asus-rog-rapture-gt-ax6000-wifi-6-router-5ghz-test-signal-downstream
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 – Wireless Test + Attenuation (-dB) – 5GHz (80MHz) – WiFi 6 and WiFi 5 client devices – Downstream

This is the performance you’re going to see if you don’t have compatible client devices, so bear that in mind before spending too much money on the latest WiFi tech. Lastly, I revived the Pixel 2 XL (WiFi 5) once again to have a proper point of comparison with other routers that I tested before and, the performance was a bit less impressive, which is normal for this client device.

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Asus GT-AX6000 vs TP-Link AX3200 5GHz 1 vs Asus RT-AX86U vs Netgear RAX43 vs Asus TUF-AX5400 vs TP-Link AX73 – 80MHz – 5GHz – 5 feet – Upstream

At 15 feet, it managed to offer 439Mbps up and 388Mbps downstream, while at 45 feet, I saw an average of 181Mbps upstream and 105Mbps downstream.

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Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000

Pros

  • Excellent range with both WiFi 6 and WiFi 5
  • Gaming features
  • Very good 2.4GHz wireless performance
  • WiFi 6 features, such as OFDMA
  • Two 2.5GbE ports + possibility to set them up as dual-WAN

Cons

  • Not really fond of the design or size
  • Some strange behavior with the 160MHz and DFS channels
  • I couldn’t access USB drives

Author

Silence Dogood

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