ASUSTOR AS-604T Conclusion
Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. As Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusions, as they represent our product rating for the sample received which may differ from retail versions.
The performance of the ASUSTOR AS-604T is excellent, no question about it. It achieves top-level performance, even when compared to some big-iron solutions that cost significantly more. During timed transfers of 1GB and 10GB files the AS-604T recorded Read speeds of 122 MB/s and Write speeds of 112 MB/s. These are RAID 5 results, and the only ones that really matter, since I suspect 90%+ of all users will choose that operating mode. The Intel Atom D2700 processor inside was never maxed out during these tests, and the 1GB of SDRAM didn’t hold the system back in these tests. The balancing act of capacity, speed and cost has to land somewhere, and ASUSTOR put together a well-balanced package that delivers the goods. The USB 3.0 performance is a much needed shot in the arm for interfacing with portable devices. The dual GbE network interfaces are perfectly suitable here, and the Broadcom NICs did an excellent job of keeping the bits flowing smoothly. The NIC throughput was pegged at 99.9% for the entire Read test on several occasions.
The four-bay tower form factor of the ASUSTOR AS-604T allows for the use of a two-line display on the front of the unit, which was handy for system monitoring and for out-of-the-box setup. The status LEDs for each HDD are easy to see. All the controls are easily accessed on the front panel, including the USB connector. The side and top panels are well finished, with a classy brushed metal finish. I’m fine with the absence of a door to cover the front panel from an aesthetic standpoint, although you miss out on the option of having a dust filter mounted there.
The construction quality of the ASUSTOR AS-604T was just right, I thought. Both internally and externally, things were well designed and well put together. The drive trays are very nicely built, and slide in and out smoothly. The outer shell and the inner framework were modern, sturdy designs that fit together well and came apart easily when needed. I appreciate good mechanical design, especially when cost is a factor. When you take away everything that doesn’t add value, you can sometimes come up with a very pleasing object. ASUSTOR provides a 2 Year warranty, which is quite reasonable for a complex system that is going to see 24/7 service.
The ASUSTOR AS-604T is targeted to a growing class of NAS users, I think. The expansion of cloud-based services has really opened the public’s eyes to the advantages of centralized storage, that’s universally accessible. ASUSTOR has all the basics covered in their standard software apps, from cloud-based services to mobile access with both iOS and Android. The ultra low power sleep mode, combined with Wake-on-LAN provides an easy way to reduce operating costs and extend HDD life. The local display capability is a new addition that extends the capabilities of this NAS for media streaming. Lastly, the folder-cased 256-bit encryption is a real bonus for those who want an extra measure of security for their data. Volume-based encryption is a big fail, with unacceptable performance degradation.
As of April 2013 the ASUSTOR AS-604T model was listed for $715 (Amazon | Newegg), and was out of stock at Newegg. Given the number of drive bays you get, the high-end Intel chips inside, the transfer speeds it achieves, the construction quality, and the features it offers, I think that’s a very attractive price. ASUSTOR will be releasing a new lower cost line of NAS models with more modest internals, but the AS-604T and its siblings are meant to compete head-on with the best Atom-based products the competition has on offer.
Benchmark Reviews has enjoyed testing a variety of network storage solutions, and with the wide range of products on offer from a number of vendors, anyone in need of a NAS server can find one to fit their current and future needs. The biggest problem is choosing one; that’s why we go into so much detail in our reviews, to help you figure out what level of performance and features is right for you. If you need a staggering array of features and 10GbE-class performance, then you need to look elsewhere to meet those needs. If you just need the storage capacity, the high throughput and continuity of service that four bays of RAID 5, 6, or 10 provides, in a small tower package, then the ASUSTOR AS-604T is an excellent candidate for you.
+ Very high transfer speeds
+ Local HDMI Display capability
+ Folder-based encryption
+ High quality construction
+ 1GB SDRAM is standard
+ Two USB 3.0 ports (Front & Back)
+ Built-in Firewall & Network Defender
+ Very quiet operation
+ Integrated 250W power supply
+ All the usual support apps available
+ Active Company and Community support
- Commercial backup S/W not bundled
- No air filters for HDDs or controller
- No locks on drive trays
- Drive trays and bays not labeled 1,2,3,4
- Performance: 9.50
- Appearance: 9.00
- Construction: 9.25
- Functionality: 9.25
- Value: 9.00
Final Score: 9.20 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
COMMENT QUESTION: How many drive bays do you require from a NAS server?