This router may resemble a headcrab but it's actually a serious networking kit

(Image credit: Asus)

Let's get the obvious out of the way—the new RT-AX89X gaming router from Asus looks like a headcrab. Or maybe a high-tech bear trap. Whatever the comparison, it's on the funky side of router design, though that's starting to become par for course at Asus (see the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 or RT-AC5300). It's a menacing design for sure, and also built to handle high-speed networks with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) wireless connectivity, dual 10G ports, eight gigabit LAN ports, and a pair of USB 3.1 ports.

Any of those features are selling points on their one, and the Asus RT-AX89X offers them all. Perhaps most intriguing from a future-proofing perspective (as much as such a thing is possible, anyway) are the dual 10G ports.

"The RT-AX89X comes with two 10G ports, one Base-T and SFP+ port, which means both fiber and copper 10G connections are supported. Capture ISP advertised speeds or use your own 10G LAN network between PCs and NAS," Asus explains.

It's worth noting that some of the best motherboards for Intel's Comet Lake CPUs and AMD's Ryzen processors come with 10G ports. And not a moment too soon—it seems we have been stuck on 1Gbps LAN connections for far too long.

Beyond all the wired goodness, the RT-AX89X is a dual-band router serving up speeds of up to 4,804Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 1,300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It also sports eight external antennas.

Perfect peripherals

(Image credit: Colorwave)

Best gaming mouse: the top rodents for gaming
Best gaming keyboard: your PC's best friend...
Best gaming headset: don't ignore in-game audio

I haven't spent any hands-on time with this router, but if the range and coverage is similar to the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, a router I do own and use that also has eight external antennas, then only sprawling homes will need to worry about dead spots. According to Asus, the RT-AX89X is suitable for "very large homes."

For gamers, Asus touts network prioritization for gaming traffic. Or at least that's an option within the dashboard. That's basically a quality of service (QoS) feature that attempts to identify gaming packets to make sure they are at the front of the line. In theory, this should result in lower pings, though your mileage will vary with this sort of thing.

The RT-AX89X looks like a promising router with some desirable features. It's also expensive—it's available now for $450.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).