ASUSTOR AS-604T NAS Server Review
By Bruce Normann
Full disclosure: The product used in this review was supplied by ASUSTOR
Everybody needs a NAS, I’m convinced. Maybe if I described it in terms of what the modern NAS has become – a Private Cloud, then everyone would better understand my conviction. Years ago, when Benchmark Reviews first started testing and reviewing NAS servers, they were intended to sit on your network as a sort of file server. You could access it using a file manager, like Windows Explorer, and you could also employ some backup software that was typically supplied by the vendor, and often proprietary. Today, as we all know, everything is wide open. Access anything, anywhere is not just a dream anymore, its reality. Hardware is still important, but it’s the depth and breadth of the software that is becoming more of a differentiator.
The ASUSTOR AS-604T NAS Network Storage Server uses a familiar hardware platform – Intel Atom and a Linux distro, but the design team didn’t stop there. I’m sure they know who their competition is, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Their job was to conceive and build a product that offered something more, more of what people want. If you’ve perused the long list of features on some of my previous NAS reviews, you might wonder, “What could they possibly add, to what the market already expects?” As it turns out, there are some improvements that were ready to be explored; they just needed a slightly different perspective.
The AS-604T doesn’t economize on the hardware side, in order to provide a richer feature set, quite the contrary. The four-bay tower uses one of the speediest Intel Atom Dual-Core CPUs, the D2700, ticking over at the top clock speed within the Atom family – 2.13 GHz. The powerful Intel ICH10R on the South side is used to expand the interface capability of the Atom, which lacks the PCI Express lanes that many of the support chips rely on to communicate with the CPU. One GB of DDR3-1066 system memory supports the rest of the internals. Two Gigabit Ethernet network ports are standard, with no expansion capability for additional Network Interface Cards (NIC). Four SATA 6Gb/s drive bays offer single disk and RAID 0/1/5/6/10 configurations. The capability for hot spares is available with some of the disk configurations. ASUSTOR employs a single 1 GB flash memory module to store firmware and applications on the AS-604T motherboard. This Disk-On-Memory (DOM) acts like the system drive, yet it takes up very little space and uses almost no power.
Benchmark Reviews has tested quite a few NAS products, ranging from the QNAP TS-119 NAS single-disk offering made for home users, to the Goliath QNAP TS-879U-RP 8-Bay NAS for the storage needs of large businesses. We’ve recently tested the NETGEAR ReadyNAS NV+ v2 NAS servers, which falls in the middle between those two extremes. Let’s see how this new 4-bay device compares to its competitors.