Asustor AS1004T review

ASUS has been at the forefront of the storage revolution and they have a wide array of product ranges to show for it. The Asustor AS1004T is yet another addition to this long product range and goes on to show that Asus has the versatility to shuttle between enterprise and home requirements with ease. The Asustor AS1004T is a decent, easy to use storage solution for home users which is easy to install and use. We have tested it quite extensively and found that their claims on decent performance turned out to be true. If you are on a budget and require a good storage option, this is as good as it comes.

ASUSTOR AS1004T REVIEW

Storage has assumed huge significance in today’s world with a lot of people opting to their movies, music, photos and documents in digital form. As such, Asus has created a brand especially to cater for such requirement in the form of Asustor. The Asustor AS1004T is a four-bay NAS drive compatible with disks up to 10 TB in size, enabling you to have up to 40 TB of capacity available for your household, which should be enough for anybody.
We received an Asustor model without any disks and this bare chassis model cost us around £250 and it will be definitely cheaper if you search it online. We found it at Amazon for just £229.

ASUSTOR AS1004T REVIEW: DESIGN

One of the first things that struck as soon as we took it from the box was is angular design and patterned black finish. We think this gives it a tinge of style so it won’t stick out like a sore thumb if it’s visible in the home.
It turned out to be noise-free in its working and the sound level was measured at a mere 19.7dB. This is primarily because it uses a large 70mm fan, which helps it be a room friendly device. That said, when a Time Machine backup was undertaken and the drives were whirring away inside we measured it peaking at a rather louder 71dB. Don’t backup while watching a quiet movie would be our advice unless you equip it with SSDs.

We loved the fact that we didn’t require any tools for installation. Thumbscrews are used to remove the cover as well as to install the disks inside, so you can get it up and running without needing to a screwdriver. To start, the drive requires installing the Control Center software, and we were slightly bemused to see that the software was supplied on a CD. This was of little use to us as the laptop we used for testing was bought in the 21st century so it didn’t come with an optical drive.

We were a bit relieved when the guide said we could do it online but then again hit upon a rather rude roadblock when we discovered the given link was broken. We had to resort to a search engine to locate the file we needed.
Once we got hold of the setup file, installation was a breeze and didn’t encounter any more problems as everything was detected by the installer. However, if you are using lesser than four disks, make sure you start by installing the first disk in the first bay otherwise the disks will not be detected. We forgot to do this at first (nor did we read the manual) and had to open up the NAS and reinstall the disks.

When the disks were properly installed, we were asked to choose between using the full capacity of both disks and going with RAID 1, which effectively gave us backup protection for our data in the case one fails. Obviously, we chose the latter. Note you can’t hot swap the drives, in case you need to replace or install a new one, so there will be downtime to do either.

When you login to the AS1004T, you will be greeted with a grid of basic looking icons arranged in a grid. It’s not as sophisticated looking as what you’ll find from Synology or QNAP, but in terms of available apps you won’t feel insufficient.

The App Center has a huge variety of applications but in order to access it, you got to register for an account first. Regular apps such as an app for downloading P2P files and photo browsing are all available, but it’s also possible to find apps for business functions such as database management, using it to host a WordPress website, or running virtualised OSs. You also have the option to plug in security cameras too.

Configuring the rights access for the various users is also hassle free and Mac users will definitely love the option to set up a Time Machine back up.

There is abundant Multimedia apps like AIVideo app for iOS available and there are no surprises in this area. The Marvell processor lets us play back an H.265 encoded MKV files on an iPhone 7 Plus without trouble. However, the same file was not detected over DLNA using our favourite AVPlayer app for iOS. Our other test files played without problems however.

On closer look, it becomes obvious that ASUS has placed a lot of importance on ease of use rather than loading it with high end specifications. The market already has loads of products that are primarily performance oriented and Asus was right in thinking to fill the gap with one aimed at storage, its primary purpose. To that end, we can see that the Asustor AS1004T checks most boxes without leaving much to anyone’s imagination. We may soon see Asus following this up with an upgraded version with better specifications and hence, better performance. For now, let us take a closer look at Asustor AS1004T’s performance.

ASUSTOR AS1004T REVIEW: PERFORMANCE

The presence of a Marvell rather than Intel processor and a meagre 512MB of RAM can raise doubts in our minds as to the performance of the device; however Asustor did a decent job in our tests despite its shortcomings. Playback of files over the network and via PS4 was impressive. However, there’s not enough grunt for hardware transcoding on the fly, which meant that we could not play back our H.265 test file.

When tested for write performance, we witnessed a decent 110MB/s using the CrystalDiskMark test for maximizing the throughput of a single Ethernet connection. Read speeds meanwhile only peaked at 82.2 MB/s, slower than other NAS drive, which can easily cross 100 MB/s.

ASUSTOR AS1004T: SPECS

• Marvell ARMADA-385 1GHz (Dual-Core) Processor
• 512MB
• 1x Gigabit Ethernet
• 1x rear USB 3.0 port, 1 x front USB 3.0 port
• 1x 120mm fan
• Max capacity: 4x 10TB
• 65(H) x 164(W) x 218(D) mm

OUR VERDICT

The Asustor AS1004T scores high in its noise free operation, the ease of installation and its satisfactory performance with its average specifications. It isn’t fast enough for hardware transcoding though, so you will require native support for all your files on all your client devices. Where it trumps the completion is that if offer a four-bay chassis where others at the same price range offer only two. If storage rather than performance is the priority then, it’s a great choice and while the ADM interface isn’t as accomplished looking as some of its rivals it’s got the apps you’ll need for the daily use.
It is quite clear that ASUS didn’t mean the Asustor AS1004T to be a groundbreaking game changer, but rather added to its wide array of storage devices. Users who have a genuine need for storage rather than high performance and is willing to be patient with the device will find the Asustor AS1004T extremely useful and within the budget. Users who expect high performance from its mediocre specifications are bound to be disappointed and hence it is strongly advised to make your decision accordingly. It is certainly easy to install and install, with few complications and that is something many users will appreciate.