Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router (Hardware) Review

Players always strive for the best. Whether it’s the best score, best killstreak, best games—whatever it is, they want the finest they can get. So when it comes to gaming online, players demand the absolute best from their routers. You can’t have your connection slowing down or even dropping during a crucial moment. Linksys understands this and has created a router that promises to bring players the absolute best network for their needs with the WRT 32X. Featuring some impressive specs and being the introduction to Linksys’s Killer technology, we set out to see if it really was the best.

Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router (Hardware) Review
Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router (Images via CG Magazine)

The Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router is an impressive looking router, to say the least. The all black design really sells the idea that this is a router that means business. It’s not that large, or that tall, which means that it can be out on a table or shelf and it won’t be an imposing figure. The front of the router features all the main LEDs and the blue colouring helps compliment the router’s design.

The Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router is a really good router that features a dual core 1.8 GHZ processor. This processor can handle all the traffic you could throw at it, regardless of whether it’s wireless, wired, USB 3.0, or eSATA. Alongside the processor is a pro-grade Ethernet switch. This switch comes with five integrated Gigabit Ethernet transceivers and is able to handle a large amount of routed, switched, or IPv6 traffic locally, so that processing power can be freed for wireless and USB connections. The Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router also comes with Tri-Stream 160, meaning there are three streams on a 160MHz-wide channel. This provides users with a theoretical maximum connection rate of 2.6Gbps. Alongside all this, MU-MIMO technology is built into this router, letting your devices get the connection they need.

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Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router (Images via CG Magazine)

MU-MIMO isn’t the only technology built into the Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router. The highlight of the new router is the Killer Priority Engine. This engine ensures that any and all packets of data relating to playing your game are treated with the highest priority. This means that you should never experience lag or slowdown on your own network while gaming. Built right into the router and accompanying motherboards, the Killer Priority Engine promises to bring players the absolute fastest speeds by offering a highway just for their gaming traffic. As long as you have a motherboard with the Killer Technology in it, you get access to the full suite of features that the Killer Priority Engine provides. With a UI that should make any player feel comfortable, you are able to see the state of your network traffic, the Wi-Fi signals in your area, what networks are broadcasting on them, and how busy each one is. In testing, I didn’t notice a substantial gain in speeds. Instead, I gained more control and more reliability on my network.

However, that all changes if you don’t have the right motherboard in your PC. My home PC doesn’t have the Killer Priority Engine technology in it, so it didn’t have access to all the fancy features the WRT 32X could provide. To my PC, the Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router was nothing but a standard router. As such, when comparing it to the EA9300 that I already had at home, I didn’t notice anything substantial. If anything, the WRT 32X would have lagged behind my normal router as it only features a dual-core processor compared to the quad-core I already possess. Every standard action was available to me, such as being able to access my router from my PC, change standard settings such as DNS, and the ability to manage my network, without the special motherboard, the WRT 32X provided nothing special.

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Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router (Images via CG Magazine)

That’s my main gripe with the WRT 32X. It relies on a special and separate piece of hardware to function at its utmost best. Once it is working together with the motherboard, gaming is a breeze. All the worries of lag, dropped packets, or disconnecting vanish. However, without that motherboard, the Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router is nothing but another run-of-the-mill router.

Is it still a good router? Yes.

Is it the best router at that price point? No.

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Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router (Images via CG Magazine)

That’s where I stand with the Linksys WRT 32X Gaming Router. I love what it is and what it stands for. It’s a router designed with players and our unique needs in mind. It provides the ability to better control our networks and tailor them to our purposes. However, it can only do that if we purchase a separate, additional piece of hardware. That reliance on something else both helps elevate the router and drag it down. If you have the cash to burn, buying the router and the motherboard is a solid option. If you just want a new router, there are better options.