After picking up a WRT1900AC V2 and installing DD-WRT, I found the hardware specs are actually identical to the more expensive and supposedly newer WRT1900ACS.
Both the V2 and ACS are in fact using the same Armada 385 88F6820 chipset with a dual core 1.6Ghz CPU and 512MB RAM. In comparison the V1 uses a MV78230-B0 chipset with a dual core 1.2GHz CPU and 256MB RAM.
The FCC documentation (pictures of the WRT1900AC-V2) revealed that at least that WRT1900AC-V2 was using a Marvell “88F6820-A0 C160″ CPU, mind you, that’s the 1.6Ghz variant.
(FCC documents regarding WRT1900ACV2 can be found here: https://fcc.io/Q87/-WRT1900ACV2 )
The FCC-ID of the WRT1900AC-V2 is: “Q87-WRT1900ACV2″ and the FCC ID of the WRT1900ACS is also ” Q87-WRT1900ACV2″.
The WRT1900ACS was never certified as a different model / hardware-version but as the WRT1900ACV2.
So both routers must be identical, otherwise they would have to get the new hardware certified and it would have gotten a different FCC-ID.
This is certainly a welcome surprise. Why Linksys markets the V2 at 1.3Ghz and 256MB RAM is beyond me. However at least one conspiracy theorist claims:
The initial outlash against the V1 with its unfriendliness to OpenWRT and other hardware issues sparked the need to quickly release a stop-gap – the then still under development ACS, but re-branded as a V2 with misleading specs to maintain the opportunity to still release an official ACS model in the future (for obviously more profit).
Now that I’ve seen the big difference between the V2 and V1, I suspect at least much of the negative reviews are from the V1 and that the V2 (and ACS) fare much better. I picked up the WRT1900AC after reading many user reviews with full knowledge of others having plenty of issues, hoping I’d be lucky. I have yet to spend more time with mine to say for sure, but so far it is running strong (I am however running DD-WRT on mine which I think most reviews at this time aren’t, so that could be making the difference).