ASUStor AS5004T 4-Bay NAS - General Usage and Final Thoughts

Article Index
ASUStor AS5004T 4-Bay NAS
Closer Look and Installation
Specifications and Features
Web Interface and Setup
General Usage and Final Thoughts

Usage:

ASUStor has put together a very solid product here in the AS5004T NAS. It offers you pretty much everything you could want in a local storage server, plus the ability to be a UPnP media server, run XBMC, Plex, FTP, iTunes, Time Machine, WebDAV, MySQL, RSync and more. If you want more applications and services, they have well over a hundred more applications that can be easily installed through the interface with just a couple of clicks.

As this box is so powerful, you can turn on pretty much everything you want and still have enough power to transfer files like crazy. As it runs a version of Linux, I was able to run a terminal and even install a Mumble server. While doing things with the shell isn't probably the wisest thing to do, the ability to is pretty incredible. 

As the ASUStor AS5004T has an HDMI connection, you have to stop thinking about this is a remote box. It is also a media center, computer and more. You can plug in a wireless keyboard and mouse, plug it into your TV and digital receiver through the optical audio S/PDIF connection and play Minecraft, Emulators, use a Chrome browser, ASUStor's own SoundsGood and LooksGood apps for playing audio and video directly onto your TV or even trascoding on the fly and streaming to your portable device. 

The AS5004T takes your data on the network, keeps is secure from HDD failure with multiple RAID modes and then pushes it anywhere you have a data connection through their mobile applications and more. We tested many, many features of the AS5004T and I had no complaints with any of it. Everything worked as advertised and the interface - while good a couple years ago - is much better now. It is very logical and everything you need to find will probably be exactly where you look the first time. There will be very little hunting around to try and find what you are looking for. 

 

The Download Center is pretty awesome as well. You don't have to go hunting online for your favorite PBS TV programs or Linux distributions. Fire up the Download Center and type in what you're looking for and you'll easily be able to click and connect to peers and see how many people are seeding the files you need. It is so simple, so seamless and so speedy. 

If you are having issues setting up a proper RSync connection, one-click install of applications like BitTorrent Sync make life that much easier and keep all your files synchronized on another ASUStor product next door, at your home, your business or around the world. 

As much as I'd like to have a major complaint about the ASUStor AS5004T, it's pretty hard to find any downsides. It works very well and while you may want to add more memory if you are running a full-on web hosting company with their NAS (which is easily done), I never experienced any issues at all. It was rock solid and did everything they claimed it could do - and did so very quickly.

While ASUStor claims that it can reach read speeds of ~220 MB/sec and write speeds of up to ~188 MB/sec, we never saw results quite that high. Keep in mind that this test is using 10GB files and SSDs, while we used a bunch of image and video files (real-world usage) on mechanical Western Digital Red drives. These drives certainly aren't the fastest drives around, but we saw performance peak at a pretty incredible 183MB/sec... in real-world usage with real drives.

183MB/sec

 

Conclusion:

The ASUStor AS5004T has all the features that any of the competition has and more. The fact that ASUStor has designed their hardware and software to come out of the server closet and sit beside your TV for use as a media center is a great value. The keyboard, mouse, controller, WiFi, Bluetooth, Printer, UPS, and external support options are pretty incredible. If you have a device that supports eSATA or USB, it will probably plug into the NAS and work just great instantly. It has a lot of ports on the back and a single USB 3.0 port on the front to keep things looking clean. The "One-Touch" backup button around the USB 3.0 port is great for quickly backing up whatever device you just plugged into it. I use this feature regularly for customer data and it's super handy - and super speedy.

We setup a four-drive RAID 5 array and used Automatic Load Balancing to get the most out of the dual Gigabit network connections and when in use at VulcLAN 2015, we managed to connect over 40 people to it and absolutely punished the NAS with some crazy heavy load. It didn't hiccup, flinch or hesitate at all. Performance was top notch. While ASUStor has labeled this drive in their 'Home to Power User' performance tier, it can easily be used in a small business for data backup, central storage, cloud storage, media serving and more.

It comes fully equipped to handle tons of different tasks but you can always add more if you're not satisfied.  Installing Apps is simple and fast and gives you greater flexibility to quickly install Wordpress, Joomla and more at the click of a button onto any of the virtual hosts you've set up. 

At the end of the day, the ASUStor AS5004T is an amazing piece of hardware. While this box retails for a very cost effective ~$459 (at time of publication), it is a bargain when compared to the high-end QNAP devices that it is competing with. Even the original AS-604T we looked at a couple of years back had a slower processor and was priced $200 more.  The AS5004T is no mere Network Attached Storage box for your home.  This isn't built for your average home user.  It certainly works in that situation, but this box is built to work in SMB environment and as you can see in the review - it can do that and more.  It is designed for a corporate office where data management, redundant backup, and media sharing are a priority.  It delivers on its promises, and much, much more.

This box easily earns our "Gold Award" as it has great value, tremendous performance, incredible features and does everything ASUStor says it can do and more. The beauty of ASUStor products is more than just the great hardware, it is also the great software that keeps improving with each new version. The people at ASUStor don't rest on past victory, they keep pushing, innovating and making their products better. That is why it is Gold.

 

Pros:

  • Lots of connectivity options (USB2.0/USB3.0/eSATA/HDMI, S/PDIF)
  • Supports JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and Single Disk Volumes
  • Servers: MySQL, FTP, HTTP, Printer, iTunes, BitTorrent, UPnP Media Server, Surveillance and much more through Plugins
  • Automatic Load Balancing allows read/write speeds over 200MB/s on a network.
  • Backup: External Drive, USB One-Touch, RSync, FTP, BitTorrent Sync and more
  • Excellent power management and noise levels through standby and fan control options
  • Much more affordable than the competition
  • LooksGood / SoundsGood
  • Fast and super affordable!

 

Cons:

  • No display on unit

 

I'd like to thank ASUStor for sending out this unit for a review and for Dallmann Computers for hooking us up with a pile of drives to put in the box and test for a month or so. It's been a pleasant surprise and I figured that this series would be a bit lacking in the performance department. Boy, was I wrong.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please feel free to post them in the forum at the link below.

Comment here.