Best Value

Asustor AS4004T Review

Asustor has always had a keen focus on value as its extensive range of NAS appliances are some of the most affordable around. Its latest AS4004T exemplifies this strategy as this little 4-bay appliance sports an embedded 10GbaseT port and yet costs a mere $365.

The AS4004T is in a class of its own as Qnap has nothing that competes directly with it. Its TS-431X2 4-bay appliance does have an integral 10GbE SFP+ fibre port but this little box costs around $240 more and you’ll also need to factor in the cost of a laser transceiver as well.

There are compromises in Asustor’s search for value as the AS4004T is powered by a more basic dual-core 1.6GHz Marvell Armada 7020 CPU. It only comes with 2GB of DDR4 memory as well, which can’t upgraded.

Port choices are reasonable as you also get a pair of Gigabit plus USB 3 ports fore and aft. The front USB 3 port links up with the One Touch Backup button above so you can quickly copy data to or from an inserted USB storage device.

Build quality and setup

The ADM 3.2 web interface is well designed and now includes support for Seagate’s IHM disk health feature

The appliance feels well-built with its glossy black front panel retained by magnetic catches. Behind this are four non-lockable, tool-free plastic carriers and we had no problems fitting a quartet of 10TB Seagate IronWolf hard disks.

Cooling is handled by a generous 12cms diameter fan and we found noise levels acceptably low. Using the SPLnFFT iOS app on our iPad, we recorded 38.2dB from one meter in front rising to around 44dB when the drives were being accessed.

Installation is a cinch as you can use Asustor’s Control Center app or the AiMaster iOS and Android apps. We opted for the Windows Control Center which discovered the appliance and took us to its web interface which ran a quick start wizard that downloaded the latest ADM 3.2 software and created a RAID5 array from all our disks.

The main ADM web console is a cheerful affair with chunky icons providing quick access to the various features. ADM 3.2 adds some useful new features including a remote web login service using your EZ-connect cloud ID, the EZ Sync Manager and support for Seagate’s IHM (IronWolf Health Management) disk monitoring tools.

10GbE performance

The new EZ Sync Manager provides simple real-time backup services and easy file restoration

Considering its modest power plant, the AS4004T delivered a reasonable performance in our 10GbE tests. With a NAS share mapped to a Dell EMC PowerEdge T640 Xeon Scalable Window server, we saw Iometer report high sequential reads of 8.6Gbits/sec and a lower write rate of 3.4Gbits/sec.

For real world performance, drag and drop copies of a 25GB test file returned average read and write rates of 5Gbits/sec and 1.8Gbits/sec. Our backup test was slower with our 2.4GB folder and its 10,500 small files secured at only 1.3Gbits/sec and we also noticed CPU utilisation occasionally hitting 90% during these tests.

Encryption performance is nothing to write home about as copying our 25GB test file to an encrypted share averaged 1.1Gbits/sec. IP SAN performance is similar to NAS speeds with a 500GB iSCSI target returning Iometer sequential reads and writes of 5.2Gbits/sec and 2.8Gbits/sec.

Backup apps

The LooksGood and SoundsGood apps provide direct access to your music and video collections

Asustor provides plenty of backup services with the Backup & Restore app capable of securing data to other local folders, any Rsync compatible NAS appliance and external USB storage devices. It also provides facilities for uploading or downloading data using an Amazon S3 account and we had no problems linking it with our cloud buckets.

The One Touch Backup button is configured from the same app and you can set it to copy data from a USB device to a folder or send data to it from the appliance. File syncing apps for Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and OneDrive Business are also available and a useful feature is the facility for linking different cloud storage accounts to each NAS user.

Asustor loses out to the likes of Qnap and Synology as ADM doesn’t support NAS folder snapshots. However, the Storage Manager app does support iSCSI LUN snapshots which can be run on demand or scheduled to run as often as every five minutes.

The new EZ Sync Manager can sync data with Windows systems running the EZ Sync agent or mobiles loaded with the iOS or Android AiData app. We tested the Windows version and created one-way and two-way syncing tasks between selected folders. File versioning is supported so each time we edited and saved documents in our local EZ Sync folder, they were uploaded to the appliance where we could view and restore them from different points in time.

Apps of distinction

Asustor’s Surveillance Station 2.8 app isn’t as well-featured as Synology’s version but it does provide a useful set of tools for IP camera monitoring and video recording. New features include support for the H.265 codec, two-way audio communication and direct camera control from mobiles using the AiSecure app while the separate Windows viewer client worked fine with our D-Link cameras.

You can play music and videos directly from the ADM web console using the SoundsGood and LooksGood multimedia apps. On selection, each one loads a new web page with direct access to your libraries along with search facilities and playlists.

For our Seagate IronWolf drives, we could load IHM details from the Storage Manager app and view historical graphs of overall workloads and temperatures for each drive. IHM is also integrated into Asustor’s Disk Doctor tool so you can schedule regular hard disk scans.

Conclusion

Asustor’s 4-bay AS4004T is remarkably good value as it offers an integral 10GBaseT port at a price no other vendor can match. Its basic Marvell CPU means overall 10GbE performance is average and memory can’t be upgraded but the latest ADM software offers a good range of features including plenty of useful data protection apps.

7.6 Total Score

Asustor’s 4-bay AS4004T is remarkably good value as it offers an integral 10GBaseT port at a price no other vendor can match. Its basic Marvell CPU means overall 10GbE performance is average and memory can’t be upgraded but the latest ADM software offers a good range of features including plenty of useful data protection apps.

Performance
6.5
Features
7
Build quality
8
Usability
7.5
Value
9
PROS
  • Great value
  • Integral 10GBaseT port
  • Plenty of backup apps
  • EZ Sync Manager utility
CONS
  • No NAS folder snapshots
  • Non-upgradeable memory
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