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Wireless Reviews

Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router
At a glanceAC Router Performance
December 2016
ProductASUS RT-AC1900P Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router   [Website]
SummaryBest Buy exclusive version of popular AC1900 class router with Gigabit Ethernet ports and USB 2.0 / 3.0 storage and printer sharing.
Pros• Much faster USB 3.0 storage performance
Cons• More expensive than RT-AC68U

Typical Price: $200

Introduction

ASUS' RT-AC68 is one of the company's best-selling wireless routers. Part of the reason is it's available in a dizzying array of versions. The table below, compiled by SNBForums member wouterv, attempts to summarize the differences.

ASUS RT-AC68 / RT-AC1900 versions

ASUS RT-AC68 / RT-AC1900 versions

ASUS also likes to create product versions exclusive to vendors and companies, notably the TM-AC1900 for T-Mobile (not shown above) and the RT-AC68P and RT-AC1900P SKUs exclusive to Best Buy. This is a great marketing strategy because exclusivity (and scarcity) tends to increase router geeks' product lust, even if the difference is nothing more than a model number.

RT-AC1900P callouts

RT-AC1900P callouts

In the RT-AC1900P's case, the only obvious difference in marketing literature is reference to its 1.4 GHz dual-core CPU vs. a 1 GHz dual-core CPU on the RT-AC68U. So does this change bring a significant performance difference? We'll see shortly.

I'm not to discuss any features in this review, as the ASUSwrt features are well-known. I'll be doing only component analysis and performance review.

Inside

The components used in the various RT-AC68 versions and now the RT-AC1900P are difficult to parse given all its FCC change filings. And the recent appearance of the RT-AC68UV2 in FCC filings hasn't helped either. This thread discusses the best information the SNBForums community has. So I opened up my test sample after testing for a look-see. Table 1 tells the tale.

  ASUS RT-AC1900P ASUS RT-AC68U NETGEAR R7000
CPU Broadcom BCM4709C0 Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4709A
Switch In BCM4709C0 In BCM4708A in BCM4709A
RAM 256 MB (ESMT M15F2G16128A-BDB x1) 256 MB (ESMT M15F2G16128A-ADB x1) 256 MB
Flash 256 MB 128 MB 128 MB
2.4 GHz Radio - Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- Richwave RTC6649E 2.4 GHz Power Amp (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- Richwave RTC6649E 2.4 GHz Power Amp (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- Skyworks SE2623L 2.4 GHz Power Amp (x3)
5 GHz radio - Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- SiGE 5003L1 5 GHz Power Amp (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- SiGE 5023L 5 GHz Power Amp (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- Skyworks SE5003L1 5 GHz Power Amp (x3)
Table 1: Component summary

I found these obvious differences between the original RT-AC68U (hardware V1) and the RT-AC1900P, which is labeled H/W version V3:

  • CPU change from a Broadcom BCM4708A to BCM4709C0
  • Increase in flash from 128 MB to 256 MB
  • 5 GHz power amp change from Skyworks SE5023L to SE5003L1
  • Shield over the USB connectors
  • Removal of the back panel ASUS logo backlight LEDs

I can't confirm the clock increase from 1 to 1.4 GHz because the clock device is marked "T250 P qF U", which doesn't equal either number or a multiple. As near as I can tell from the RT-AC68U photo below, its clock device is marked "2.5". Note also the same ESMT memory is used with the only change being -BDB from -ADB on the original.

Finally, it's important to note that the radio SoCs remain the same (BCM4360KMLG); the BCM43602 with onboard processor is not used.

Here's the RT-AC1900P board with heatsinks and RF can tops removed.

ASUS RT-AC1900P board top

ASUS RT-AC1900P board top

Here is a similar view of the original RT-AC68U board. Note the revisions marked on each board.

ASUS RT-AC68U board top

ASUS RT-AC68U board top

The short gallery below has a few more photos of the RT-AC1900P's innards with commentary.

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