In many ways, Asus's new ROG STRIX GS-AX3000 router replaces the RT-AX3000 (a.k.a RT-AX58U).
Despite sharing these same hardware specs, the new router has some major improvements, including special online gaming features and a more responsive web interface.
For the most part, its performance was better, too, in my testing, though not by much. Since the two are so similar, consider this review a GS-AX3000 vs. RT-AX3000 matchup -- I'll highlight the differences between the two.
Here's the bottom line: If you're on the market for a mid-tier AX3000 Wi-Fi machine from Asus right now, at a reasonable price of $170, the Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX3000 is an excellent buy. It's a more refined Wi-Fi 6 router compared to its older RT-AX3000 cousin.
There's a higher-end but similar $250 GS-AX5400 version, which is somewhat the RT-AX82U's alter-ego, that I'm testing right now and will publish a review at a later time.
Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX300: Representing a new gaming lineup
The Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX3000 is part of Asus's new gaming line -- my take is "GS" stands for Gaming Strix, which is Asus's new game-related series of products.
(Before this, there's the original ROG family, including the GT-AX11000 and GT-AXE11000. On top of that, regular routers, like the RT-AX86U or RT-AX82U, or RT-AX92U, are also formidable gaming routers. "RT," by the way, is short for "router.")
The point is "GS," and "GT" or "RT" are marketing terms. They indicate certain features but don't mean much in terms of performance. And like all other Wi-Fi 6 routers from Asus, you can expect the new GS-AX3000 to have the common core feature set.
Asus’s core features
Indeed, below are what you'll find in the GS-AX3000 as well as all Asus Wi-Fi 6 routers. Still, I tried them all out for this review, and they all worked as intended.
Universal setting restoration
The GS-AX3000 can handle the setting backup files of most Asus routers.
For this review, I used the settings of half a dozen of previous dual-band routers with the GS-AX3000, and they all worked.
Clearly, it's always best to set up a router from scratch. But this universal setting restoration will come in handy when you need to change or upgrade your routers.
I've taken advantage of this feature many times with multiple models and found it extremely helpful, mostly because I have lots of customization and many IP reservation and port-forwarding entries.
Tip: After the restoration, adjust the settings accordingly -- at least, you should change the router name to the current model -- then make a backup and then restore it on the same router again. This will help make the old setting more "native" to the new router.
A robust full web interface
Asus is one of a few networking vendors that stays true to the web interface and doesn't coerce users into a cloud-based web portal, which is excellent for those caring about privacy.
The GS-AX3000 shares the same user interface as that of other Asus Wi-Fi 6 routers. However, it was clearly more responsive in my trial than the RT-AX3000.
This interface allows access to the router's excellent set of features, though it can be overwhelming for novice users.
Helpful mobile app and doesn’t require a login accout
Alternatively to the web interface, you can use the GS-AX3000 with the Asus mobile app for the setup process and ongoing management.
This app is quite comprehensive though expectedly, it's not as in-depth as the web interface.
The nicest thing about it is that you can use it to manage the router remotely without a login account. Instead, just like the web interface, it manages the remote management via the router's Dynamic DNS feature that includes a free SSL certificate.
AiProtection is a free-for-life real-time Network Protection powered by Trend Micro and a decent Parental Control engine.
Network Protection keeps the network safe against online threats, and I proved to e quite effective. In many ways, it's somewhat like a strip-down version of an add-on firewall, like the Firewalla or the subscription-based Armor from Netgear.
Considering Network Protection is completely free, it's quite an excellent feature. I've used it for years on multiple networks, and it proves effective against many malicious websites and malware.
On the other hand, the Parental Control portion has been a bit too rigid, in my opinion, and the way Asus defines categories for web filtering is a bit vague. On top of that, you can't use it to block a particular website. This is not a huge deal for me personally since I don't believe in Parental Controls anyway.
The GS-AX3000 shares the same Adaptive QoS features as most Asus routers. This is by far one of the most easy-to-use QoS features among all home routers.
"QoS" stands for the quality of service, and it enables users to prioritize Internet traffic to support different applications or services.
Asus's Adaptive QoS requires minimum work from the user and is quite effective. It also includes Bandwidth Monitor, Web History, and an Internet Speed test if you want to know more about your resources and keep tabs on your network's online activities.
AiMesh is a popular and useful feature available in all Asus Wi-Fi 6 routers. It allows each standalone hardware to work as part of a robust Wi-Fi mesh system.
In my testing, the GS-AX3000 performed well as the main router unit or as a satellite node. It also supports AiMesh 2.0 fully, meaning, among other things, you will have the Guest network available throughout the system.
(You'll find out more about its AiMesh performance in the review of the GS-AX5400.)
ON top of that, the router also comes with tons of useful features, including:
- Traffic Analyzer: A set of tools and statistics in case you want to find out what's been going on in the network in a set amount of time, and in real-time.
- Networking tools: Wake on LAN, Ping, Netstat, and Smart Connect Rule can come in handy for advanced users.
- USB-related features galore: When hosting a storage device, the router has all the features you can imagine -- from data sharing (locally and over the Internet) to backup (including the support for Time Machine), to a personal cloud. You can also use the router's USB ports to host printers or select USB cellular modems.
- The usual set of network settings and features: These include Dynamic DNS, IP reservation, Port-forwarding, VPN server (including VPN fusion), and the support for Alexa Skills. Basically, anything you can think of for a home network, the GS-AX3000, as well as most Asus routers, has it.
In all, with this common set of features alone, the GS-AX3000 is already an excellent router. However, it has more since it's a gaming router.
The familiar gaming features
Indeed, being part of Asus's ROG STRIX series, the GS-AX3000 features game-related elements.
The interface's background itself alone shows that this is a gaming router. However, the features themselves are not new. In fact, they are the same as those found in the RT-AX82U and RT-AX86U.
Specifically, they include:
- Mobile Game Boost: Available via the mobile app only, this feature help prioritize Internet for mobile games via a single tap.
- Gear Accelerator: A feature that automatically prioritizes the Internet for game consoles.
- Open NAT: A tool that quickly creates appropriate port-forwarding entries for games.
In most cases, that's enough for the router to handle any online game -- the GS-AX300 has enough to qualify as a gaming router.
Compared to other gaming routers from Asus, though, it still doesn't have everything.
The GS-AX3000 doesn't feature Outfox, either, which is available in the GT-AXE11000.
But the GS-AX3000 still has plenty for gamers, and that's the main thing in terms of features it has on the older RT-AX3000 cousin.
Asus GS-AX3000 vs RT-AX3000: The same hardware with more refined software
Again, on the inside, the GS-AX3000 seems to share the same processing power and Wi-Fi specs as the RT-AX3000 (RT-AX58U).
However, the two use two different firmware builds, which gives it an edge both in features and performance.
Asus GS-AX3000 vs RT-AX58U (RT-AX3000): hardware specifications
|Full Name||Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX3000|
Dual-band Gaming Router
|Asus RT-AX3000 / RT-AX58U|
Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router
|Model||GS-AX3000||RT-AX3000 / RT-AX3000|
|Dimensions||10.56 x 7.08 x 6.53 in|
(268 x 180 x 160 mm)
|8.82 x 6.06 x 6.3 in|
(224 x 154 x 160 mm)
|Weight||1.55 lbs (701.3 g)||1.19 lbs (538 g)|
|Hardware Specs||1.5 GHz Tri-core CPU, |
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
|1.5 GHz Tri-core CPU, |
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
|Wi-Fi Technology||Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 |
|Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 |
|5GHz Wi-Fi Specs||2x2 AX: Up to 2.4 Gbps|
|2x2 AX: Up to 2.4 Gbps|
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs||2x2 AX: Up to 574Mbps|
|2x2 AX: Up to 574Mbps|
|Wireless Security||WPA, WPA2, WPA3||WPA, WPA2, WPA3|
|Mobile App||Asus Router||Asus Router|
|Web User Interface||Yes||Yes|
|USB Port||1x USB 3.0||1x USB 3.0|
|Gigabit Port||4x LAN, 1x WAN||4x LAN, 1x WAN|
|Dual-WAN||Yes (WAN+LAN/USB)||Yes (WAN+LAN/USB)|
|Link Aggregation||Yes (LAN1 + LAN2)||No|
|U.S. Price (at review)||$170||$170|
Asus GS-AX3000 vs RT-AX3000 (RT-AX58U): Web interface screenshots
While sharing the same hardware, the GS-AX3000 has a more refined web interface than the RT-AX3000, albeit with the same design. It also has more features.
Below are a few screenshots to show the differences between the two. (I used an RT-AX58U, which is a variant of the RT-AX3000, for these shots.)
Asus GS-AX3000: Detail photos
Asus GS-AX3000: Excellent performance
I tested the Asus GS-AX3000 for a couple of days and was happy with its performance.
Fast Wi-Fi speed, excellent range, and reliability
Since the router has no Multi-Gig port, clearly, its speeds would cap at 1Gbps at most, and my tests showed that.
While my 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 client could connect to it at the negotiated speed of 2400Mbps, it capped at between 860Mbps and almost 900Mbps within 40 feet (12m) from the router.
These were among the fastest routers without a Multi-Gig port, and the GS-AX300 was clearly faster than the RT-AX3000.
Wi-Fi 5 clients did very well, too, averaging some 540Mbps at 40 feet away and some 760Mbps at 10 feet (3m) away. Again these numbers were impressive for a Gigabit router.
In this test, though, the GS-AX3000 was faster than the RT-AX3000 in the long-range but slower in the short-range, both by small margins.
The router also did well on the 2.4GHz band, with the sustained speed right at the middle of the charts. Note that the performance fluctuates and is always much slower than the rated speed on this band.
Still, in this test, the GS-AX3000 was clearly faster than its older RT-AX3000 cousin.
The GS-AX3000 passed my 3-day stress with no disconnection at all. In fact, I experience no issue. The router proved to be reliable.
As for coverage, it was about the same as the RT-AX3000, maybe slightly better. It's always tricky to determine the range of a router because that depends on the environment. However, if you live in a home of around 1800 ft² (167 m²) and place it in the middle, it'll be able to blanket most if not all of it with good Wi-Fi.
Decent network storage performance
The GS-AX3000 also did clearly better than the RT-AX3000 when hosting a portable drive, though it itself was a bit modest.
I tested it with a WD My Passport SSD, and via a Gigabit wired connection, the router registered the sustained data copy speeds of 74MB/s for reading and 56MB/s for writing.
With these rates, the router is fast enough for mild network data sharing. If you're serious about network storage, you should get a real NAS server instead.
Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX3000's Rating
Feature-laden, including those for gamers
Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app
No support for WTFast Gamer VPN
No Multi-Gig network port
Network storage performance, when hosting a portable drive, could be better
The new Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX3000 is an excellent general router for anyone and definitely is a worthy replacement for the RT-AX3000 that came out more than a year ago.
While the lack of support for Multi-Gig is a bit disappointing, its added gaming features are a welcome bonus, and at $170, it sure is an excellent buy for a small home.
And those with an AiMesh system should consider it as a node, too. Chances are it'll work well with any other dual-band AiMesh router in a wired mesh setup.