Asustor is a new brand among manufacturers of network attached storage. As the name suggests, they are part of Asus, but work independently. It is not easy to compete with established brands such as Buffalo, Synology and Qnap when it comes to network drives, but Asustor makes the effort and offers some exciting features of its own.
Ease of use
It is not difficult to get started. There is a helpful start guide and you can install a configuration tool that is in Swedish. A little choppy language, but understandable. The user manual is included as a pdf and is boringly function-oriented, it just lists function after function without telling how they are connected or giving concrete examples. In addition, there is almost no information about the remote control and what can be controlled with it.
The Nas unit from Asustor is a sturdy box with room for four 3.5-inch disks.
The web interface for managing the device, on the other hand, is really good. It looks a lot like Apple Ios. It is not in Swedish but is clear and easy to work with. The first time you log in, you’ll see a helpful getting started guide that explains some of the basic features.
The structure of the interface is simple with a desktop where the system’s default apps appear alongside the add-on apps you install. You can sort the icons in your own order and also structure them on several different desktops. It’s stupid that an open window from an app doesn’t stay on its desktop but stays with it when you change desktop behind the open window. Big plus, however, for the extremely fast search function.
The fast and smooth web interface looks very similar to Apple’s Ios. Just like in a phone, you add features by installing apps. If you connect the device to a TV via HDMI, you get an even simpler interface with functions that are suitable for being displayed on a TV.
To be honest, the Asustor AS-204TE has a powerful processor, a dual-core Atom processor from Intel. Not unexpectedly, performance is very good. Among other things, we copied a file structure with image files of 7167.6 megabytes divided into 288 files to the drive. The copy took 2 minutes and 59 seconds, in other words just over 40 megabytes/second (or 320 megabits/second). This is via a moderately fast gigabit switch and from a fairly tough source computer with a regular hard drive and Celeron processor. In short, the AS-204TE performs very well.
The Nas drive draws around 23 watts with a single hard drive mounted. The noise level is low, you have a fan noise and you can hear the hard drive clicking, but it is quieter than many other similar units thanks to the large 120mm fan. Many nas cans are short on space and have a small, high-speed fan that tends to start making quite a lot of noise after a while.
If you connect the AS-204TE to a TV via the HDMI socket, it functions as a media player. You also get a small remote control.
The AS-204T has plenty of good features built in right from the start. Some examples are ftp backup to or from the device, backup to external devices via usb, backup to Amazon S3 or via rsync. The AS-204T can also act as an rsync server. It is compatible with Apple’s afs and Time Machine, as well as with Active Directory for Windows domains. It has built-in web and ftp server so you can run your own website. There are also advanced functions such as built-in MySQL server and login via ssh terminal.
There are also some exciting security features. AS-204T can be vpn-connected via pptp or open vpn. It has a simple firewall function where you can, among other things, limit which addresses are allowed to connect. If you want to lower security instead, you can give the AS-204T wifi connection via usb dongle, for example Asus WL-167G. In addition to the built-in features, you can add more via apps, such as installing a Dropbox client, WordPress, or a media player like XMBC.
We suspect that this particular media player thing could get really interesting thanks to the fact that the AS-204T has an HDMI output and can be controlled via the included remote control. You can see the AS-204TE as a reasonably quiet, very easy-to-maintain and extremely spacious media player. With four 4 terabyte disks, you have 8, 12 or 16 terabytes of space depending on which raid level you choose.
We tried running the AS-204T connected to a TV via hdmi and partly watched Youtube clips and partly played some movies via XMBC. It works well, although the navigation with the remote control becomes quite frustrating. Then the XMBC version had some issues with some of the videos, but that probably depends more on the app than the AS-204T.
Overall, the Asustor AS-204T is a fast, quiet and easy-to-use nas device with plenty of features and you can easily add more. The same can be said in and of itself about similar devices from, for example, Buffalo, Synology or Qnap. But the AS-204T has a trump card with its HDMI output and the included remote control.
Contact: Asustor, www.asustor.com or www.deltaco.se
Processor: Dual-core Intel Atom 1.2 GHz.
Memory: 1 gigabyte ddr3.
Counter spaces: 4.
Raid levels: 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, jbod.
Connections: Gigabit Ethernet, 2 pcs usb 2, 2 pcs usb 3, hdmi, audio output.
Services: Smb/cifs, afp, nfs, ftp, webdav, dlna compatible, Itunes server.
Power consumption (1 hard drive): About 23W.
Size: 17 x 19 x 23 cm.
Award: SEK 3,700 (without hard drives).
Plus: Very good performance. Low noise level. Functional. Good web interface
Minus: Insufficient documentation. A bit expensive.
Grade: (8 out of 10)