The AS-604T is a four-bay, consumer and business friendly NAS which has our current favourite, the Synology DS414, firmly in its sights. With functionality and ports galore this could be the best NAS to date from Asus’ storage spin-off.
Asustor hasn’t been in the NAS business that long, but its range already has a familiar design identity. Much like parent company Asus' routers, the NAS are invariably black with sharp angles and aggressive styling. They communicate a message of ‘we mean business’.
The build quality also lives up to this no-messing image. Like Asustor’s existing NAS, the 604T has a metal chassis and slide out drive bays, though the effect is slightly diminished by the 604T’s plastic front facia.
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That said it is a facia which is packed with features. There is a two line LCD (a feature being dropped by many cost cutting rivals) with four button navigation, drive activity lights for each bay (again a fading feature from rivals) and a USB 3.0 port.
Meanwhile the back of the 604T could be a mini PC given the sheer number of ports. You’ll find 2x Gigabit LAN, 2x eSATA , 4x USB 2.0, another USB 3.0 port and HDMI 1.3a. There is also a large 120mm fan which does a great job of keeping the AS-604T quiet.
Look inside and Asustor has also done a good job. The NAS uses a snappy Intel Atom 2.13 GHz Dual-Core Processor and 1GB of DDR3 RAM which, interestingly, is expandable to 3GB.
Where there is a concern, however, are the RAID arrays. Asustor supports the usual arrays of JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 and RAID 10 but the company still doesn’t have a dynamically expandable standard like Synology Hybrid Raid (SHR), Netgear’s X-RAID or Drobo’s Beyond RAID. This means all disks must be upgraded with matching capacities before the volume will expand, rather than taking advantage of larger drives as they are added.
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On the upside if/when you buy another Asustor NAS in future you can simply plug your drives into the new model and they will work – a nifty feature the company dubs ‘system migration’.
Furthermore Asustor’s ADM software platform is nothing if not comprehensive. The UI may be a rather basic grid of icons compared to Synology’s faux-desktop in DiskStation Manager (DSM), but it has just as much functionality. This is helped by a comprehensive app store (including support for iTunes Server, Dropbox and Google Drive, amongst many others) and iOS and Android apps for remote file access.