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Asustor AS-304T review

Michael Passingham
6 Feb 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
387

The Asustor AS-304T is a speedy four-bay NAS that's also a media player thanks to its HDMI output

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Specifications

Capacity: Bare drive, 3.5" hard disk bays (free): 4(4), Networking: 1x10/100/1000, DLNA media server: Yes (optional install), Print server: Yes, Dimensions (WXHXD): 170x185.5x230mm, Weight: 3.4kg

Asustor's AS304T is a 4-bay NAS with a powerful dual-core Intel Atom processor and an HDMI output, so you can connect it directly to your TV and use it as a media player. It ships as a barebones, so you'll need to provide your own disks, but setting up the NAS is simple.

The disk caddies are securely mounted in place but can be removed by pressing a button, which in turn releases a handle that you pull to dismount the caddies. There are screws supplied, and you'll need these in order to secure your 3.5in or 2.5in hard disks into the caddies. This part of the set up process is quick, but it's the next part that ate up a lot of time.

We inserted four WD Red NAS hard disks into our AS304T, and when given the choice of RAID setups, we chose RAID 5 for its performance and slightly better capacity when compared to RAID 6. The process of building a RAID 5 array on the AS304T took well over 24 hours, and while you can use the NAS while this process is being undertaken, you'd be best advised to leave it until it's finished.

We also recommend that you use properly cleaned hard disks; we initially used disks that had previously been in another NAS, and the way in which the disks partitions were formatted caused our AS304T to crash eight hours into the RAID building process.

Once set up, you'll be presented with Asustor's user-friendly web-based ADM interface. Unlike some cheaper NAS devices, this interface is a desktop-style affair, with icons, windows and apps for you to use and arrange to your liking. It's not as pretty as Synology's DSM5 software, but we found it equally easy to use when it was behaving nicely. However, it would sometimes misbehave and became fairly extremely frustrating to use.

Rather too often than we'd have liked, the user interface simply hung for up to twenty seconds at a time meaning our clicks and commands were significantly delayed. This happened more often when the NAS was in Media Mode, where some of its processing power is directed towards running media applications.

Simple file shares are easy to create and configure, and you can also set up access rights for individual users and groups. You can also set up file services for Windows (CIFS/SAMBA), Mac OS X (AFP) and Linux (NFS) to ensure all your devices can properly access all the files on your NAS. FTP and WebDAV support is also available so your files can be accessed from specialised clients or from a web browser.

A more enterprise-level feature that some home users may find useful is an ISO mounting tool. This lets you mount a CD or DVD image, such as for a software install, and access it from any computer on your network as if it were a regular folder.

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