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This review is from: TP-Link Archer C5400 AC5400 Wireless Tri-Band MU-MIMO Gigabit Router
Pros: The first thing you have to know is this thing is probably a lot bigger and heavier then you might imagine. The TP-Link AC5400 is 9 inches square and an inch and 5/8 deep. It’s matte black plastic, heavily ventilated on top and bottom and although I would call it striking, it’s not exactly handsome. It does seem more sedate then most of the other garish routers in this price range however so your mileage will vary. If you like lots of antennas, then you’ll be happy. The unit only appears to be able to lay flat but there are mounting holes on the back.
The AC5400 comes wrapped in protective foam in a large box. The following are included: a multi lingual pamphlet that lists support phone numbers and e-mail, an English fold out quick installation guide, a GNU General Public License Notice, a big power brick and a 4 foot Ethernet cable. There is no software or driver disk. Strangely enough the power brick is labeled ‘Hunt Key’ and the lettering lights up in blue. This is a big power brick with a substantial detachable power cord.
The AC5400 is comparable to other high end routers in that it has 4 gigabit Ethernet ports, a Wan port for your cable modem and 2 USB ports, one USB 2 and one USB 3. The only other things on the back are an on/off switch and a recessed ‘reset’ button. On the front are 3 small buttons. One turns the Wi-Fi on and off. The second is the WPS button and the third shuts off the blue LEDs on the front. This is a great idea that all router manufacturers should adopt.
The initial setup is about as easy as it can be. You unfold the 8 stubby antennas and hook up the AC5400 to your cable modem and to a wired computer. It appears as if you have to do this with a wired computer. Log in using the temp password that’s printed on the bottom of the case and then change to a more secure password. The router will auto detect your type of connection and then you’re golden. Enter your own passwords for the 3 separate bands and you’re on the Internet. Of course that doesn’t get you into the myriad advanced options but it’s a good start.
The USB ports on the back are handy but remember that if you plug in a portable hard drive that it will run until you think to unplug it. I plugged in a Seagate Expansion USB 3 drive and was able to read and write to it quickly and with no problem. The drive shows up in ‘Network” as a drive and can be accessed without doing any changes in the router firmware.
Cons: So let’s talk about performance. Maybe I’m naïve but I was expecting more from an expensive, cutting edge router like this. It’s fast but not much faster than my much cheaper ASUS RT-AC66R. Maybe I was expecting the AC5400 to be wickedly fast simply because it looks menacing. It is fast but not enough so you notice in everyday use.
First off there’s really no need to talk about the Internet because any inexpensive router will give you decent performance visiting websites. Performance when talking about routers like the AC5400 comes down to speed, distance and thruput and maybe bragging rights. Distance on the AC5400 is great. I took my phone six houses away and was still getting 1 bar. I can take my laptop out in the yard and stream video from You Tube. Of course there’s video from You Tube and then there’s 4K video from You Tube. I have 4 computers with wireless capability in my house, 2 laptops, a Skylake NUC and a Skylake computer using an ASUS Maximus VIII Impact board with a Qualcom AC wireless adaptor. The 2 laptops are unfortunately Lenovos and both have whitelisted wireless N cards that I can’t change so they share a Wavlink USB 3 AC1200 adaptor and the NUC has an Intel AC adaptor. I can stream 4K video to both laptops and the NUC from either 5G connection on the AC5400 but it does stop occasionally to buffer. It’s not really terrible but not optimum either. The Qualcom wireless on the Impact board has driver issues and won’t stream video at all although it’s fine for streaming video from my main computer or getting on the Internet. This isn’t a fault with the AC5400 however. The NUC actually performs best here.
I use inSSIDer to compare speeds. It gives a signal strength rating in DBs and a Max Data Rate measurement. Mostly the AC5400 does great. The two 5G bands deliver between -30DB and -40DB performance and a data rate of 1733. This accounts for the extreme range of the signals. The 2.4G band is the same in strength but with a much slower Max Data Rate of only 233. With inSSIDer, the higher the DB figure the better.
My usual home router is an ASUS RT-AC66R. This is a top rated dual channel AC1750 router. That means it doesn’t have the second 5G channel sported by the AC5400. It’s not as fast either as the signal strength in inSSIDer is only 1300 and the signal maxes out at -50DB. However, it gives me 90% of the performance of the AC5400. It will stream 4K video with only a minor increase in buffering and of course it handles all Internet and network streaming perfectly. The 2.4G band is even better than on the AC5400.
Look, I'm not slamming this router. It's a darn good router. I'm afraid I'm a victim of my own expectations and it's just not that much better then my current router to justify the sky high price. That's personal and so I'm only taking off one star for my dashed expectations. It does just what it promises and if you need it then it's a good choice.
Other Thoughts: Bottom line, this is a top notch router that really offers me nothing much above my home router. I don’t need the second 5G network and I don’t as a habit stream 4K video. It’s impressive to look at and gives you great bragging rights. Show your techie buddies the AC5400 and you’ll get a lot of oohs and aahs and inappropriate fondling of the antennas. This is a personal thing however and I’m the first to admit the AC5400 is a nice piece of tech. It’s too expensive for me but if you do have a pressing need for that second 5G network or you want to chase Pokémon down the street using your wireless network then it would seem to be a decent purchase. However, be aware that the new network standard 802.11 ad is on the horizon with a big increase in wireless speed. This is seen in the TP-Link Talon AD7200. It might be best to wait and spend your money on a router that’s slightly more future-proof.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: I put this in an X99 i7 5820 system where I had been running SLI'd 970 Gtx cards. I'm pushing a 4K monitor and this single card is faster then the two 970s in SLI. So far just using FRAPS to check framerates and I've only run GTA 5 and Far Cry 4 but both give me near 60 FPS at Ultra settings.
Cons: Expensive. You can buy cheaper 1070 cards but I've been using ASUS for as long as I can remember. Also it's a huge card. Check the specs closely to make sure it will fit in your system.
Other Thoughts: This sucker is big. Don't even look at it in small systems. The lights are bright and gaudy but I'm going to install the software to control them and tone them down a bit. Bottom line, this is probably the minimum video card horsepower you need to run a 4K monitor at close to Ultra settings. By the same token it's way overkill if you're gaming at anything less the 2K.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: A high quality PWM fan that's quiet except at its highest speed. I'm using 2 of these as intake fans on a Corsair 250D case where I lost the 140mm intake fan due to using a water cooler. They are basically unobtrusive and move a decent amount of air without making a racket. Plus each one included a six in 4 pin PWM splitter cable that's easily worth half the asking price. These are braided and don't seem cheap. That makes this fan a good buy in my book.
Cons: None really except the price but that's mitigated by the included splitter cable.
Other Thoughts: I haven't dealt with an 80mm fan in years but found I needed 2 for a Corsair 250D case.READ FULL REVIEW