Asustor’s new NAS is an ambitious effort in the home server front, but how does it stack up to the competition?

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The home NAS market is highly competitive, which is great for a consumer hunting for a feature-rich device at a great price.

Like the Synology DS214, which VR-Zone reviewed a few weeks ago, Asustor’s AS-304T NAS comes with a number of innovative and interesting features that are sure to appeal to different users in different ways. Home office users will find it useful as a local cloud server to backup data while users that have a lot of media files will find it useful for freeing up some space on their computers.

Hardware

The Asustor AS-304T has four bays for hard disks, has 1GB of RAM and uses an Intel Atom dual-core processor clocked at 1.6GHz. It also has an HDMI port which allows it to act as a media center and play videos without the use of a PC. This is a nice feature for users that don’t already have a set-top media box or a console.

Compared to Synology’s DS214, the build quality of the AS-304T seems much better. While Synology may have Asustor beat for slick industrial design, the AS-304T is build in a much more sturdy fashion. The AS-304T supports four drives and its drive bays open quite easily with a quick release function. The drive bays themselves feel very sturdy and well built. The case itself seems to insulate most of the noise of the disks spinning, as aside from the fan the unit was very quiet during operation.

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The AS-304T performed well during benchmarks, but as a caution these numbers can change depending on what hard disks are used with the NAS. For testing we used the Seagate 4TB NAS HDD (Model: ST4000VN000). At its peak, NAS with these disks was able to hit 11,200 IOPS and have a maximum IO throughput of 110.77 MB/s. Below is a chart with full results:

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Asustor includes a fairly comprehensive software package that works for the AS-304T that works with both Mac and Windows which makes configuration simple and straightforward.

After installing the Asustor data master (ADM) users are given the option to configure the partitioning and setup of the drive’s file system, and to install any desired apps. By default the AS-304T uses RAID5, which gives a fair amount of redundancy if data disasters happen. After setting up our four 4000 GB drives, there was 10.82 TB of total capacity.

Asustor’s included apps allow users to have a variety of services operate on the NAS, such as FTP a mail server or Torrent downloading.

Media playback can be done by directly connecting the AS-304T directly to a TV via HDMI, or using DLNA and a smart TV. Asustor also includes a remote control, and an app for iOS and Android that works over WiFi.

Conclusion

Asustor’s AS-304T is a well rounded device with solid industrial design and a wide selection of apps. It’s beefy hardware, and ability to fit into many roles from home entertainment server to office network makes it a compelling buy for those looking for a device to do networked storage.

The AS-304T retails for between $450 and $543 depending on the retailer. Amazon currently lists the device for $527.

Benchmarking was completed by the Chinese VR-Zone team.

8 51 Asustor AS 304T NAS review

Pros

  • Good selection of features for both home and office users.
  • HDMI output means video playback is possible without PC.
  • Beefy hardware means it’s fast.

Cons

  • Some apps don’t feel as polished as Synology’s.