ASUSTOR has done a pretty good job in designing the 604T for easy servicing. Removing the one-piece cover gets you quickly inside, where the RAM expansion SODIMM slot is on the back of the main board, protected by flap cut in the board's plastic insulator. (There's a shot of this in the gallery.)
To remove the fan, power supply or main board, you'll need to remove a half-dozen or so screws to lift off the rear panel. Once that is done (the fan connects via a single cable), you can get at everything else pretty easily. The main board and drive backplane are joined via a connector, so you don't have to undo the drive backplane to remove the main board.
ASUSTOR AS-604T inside with rear panel removed
On the photo below of the AS-604T's main board, we can see a 1 GB DDR3 SoDIMM, as well as the heatsinks that cover the 2.13 GHz Intel Atom D2700 processor and companion device. You can also see the 512 MB USB flash DOM (Disk On Module) near the top left of the photo.
ASUSTOR AS-604T board without drive backplane
Table 1 summarizes the AS-604T's key components and includes comparison information for two other D2700-based NASes, Synology's DS412+ and Thecus' N4800. The designs are, for the most part, very similar.
|Component||AS-604T||Synology DS412+||Thecus N4800|
|CPU||Intel Atom D2700 @ 2.13 GHz||Intel Atom D2700 @ 2.13 GHz||Intel Atom D2700 @ 2.13 GHz|
|RAM||1 GB DDR3 DIMM (expandable to 3 GB)||1 GB DDR3 DIMM (expandable to 3GB)||2 GB DDR3 DIMM (expandable to 4 GB)|
|Flash||512 MB DOM||128 MB DOM||1 GB DOM|
|Ethernet||Broadcom BCM57781 (x2)||Intel WG82574L (x2)||Intel WG82574L (x2)|
|Companion||Intel NM10 [guess]||Intel 82801JIR (ICH10R)||Intel 82801 (ICH10R)|
|USB 3.0||NEC D720200AF||NEC D720200AF1 (x2)||NEC D720200AF|
|SATA||Marvell 88SE9125 SATA 6Gb/s and PATA Host Controller (x2)||Silicon Image SiI3531 (for eSATA port)||N/A|
|I/O||ITE8728F Super I/O||ITE8728F Super I/O||N/A|
|Video||Chrontel CH7318 HDMI level shifter||N/A||N/A|
Table 1: Key component summary and comparison
I had arranged with ASUSTOR to use four 3 TB WD Red drives (WD30EFRX) loaned by WD to test the 604T, since that is what ASUSTOR would have provided anyway. Power consumption measured 40 W with the four drives spun up and 26 W with them down via the programmable idle drive power save feature. Fan and drive noise could be classified as low, since I could only notice the faint whirr of the NAS main fan if I really listened carefully in my quiet home office.
The AS-604T came with 1.0.4.RBU2 firmware and I didn't find a newer version when I checked. Since ASUSTOR is new to the market, it's going to get its own full feature review later. But in the meantime, I'll report some first impressions.
ASUSTOR says its research found that 80% of NAS functions are the same among all brands, but only 20% of those functions are used by most users. So it has adopted an "app-based" design, where the core "20%" functions are loaded by default and the rest of the functions come in optional apps. By moving the less-commonly-used functions out of the core firmware, ASUSTOR's asserts that system resources are freed up and performance improved for the majority of users.
Whether called "apps", "add-ins", "QPKGs", "modules" or "packages", installable modules aren't unique to ASUSTOR. In fact, they are pretty much standard in mid-to-high end NASes these days. So the test will be whether there is measurable performance improvement gained from not cluttering up memory and sucking up CPU cycles with all those seldom-used features.
If the 604T's hardware reminded me of QNAP, its user interface brings to mind Synology's "desktop" approach. However, a key difference is that the window that each app icon opens can't be resized in ASUSTOR's ADM (ASUSTOR Data Master) 1.0 OS.
ASUSTOR AS-604T home screen
For quick reference, here is a summary of the main ASUSTOR OS features:
- Network file sharing via SMB/CIFS, NFS, AFP, WebDAV
- Hot-swappable JBOD, RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 with hot spare
- Optional AES256 volume encryption
- Online RAID expansion and RAID level migration
- FTP/SFTP with upload / download bandwidth control and connection limits
- Web server
- MySQL server
- Bonjour / UPNP support
- Joins NT Domain / Active Directories for account information
- Share access control by user, group and app
- Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports supporting round-robin, active-backup, XOR, Broadcast, 802.3ad, adaptive transmit load balance and adaptive load balance modes
- Wi-Fi connection via optional USB adapter
- IPv6 support (very basic)
- iSCSI target support
- iSCSI Thin Provisioning, MPIO, MCS, Persistent Reservations supported
- ISO mounts
- User quotas
- Email alerts
- USB print serving (up to 3 printers)
- Programmable idle disk spindown
- Schedulable backup to/from USB and eSATA drives
- Schedulable to/from rsync backup with optional encryption and compression
- Schedulable to/from FTP backup
- Schedulable backup to Amazon S3
- Apple Time Machine backup
- Client Backup: ASUSTOR Backup Plan utility (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Server 2003/ 2008/ 2012)
- Scheduled backup of system settings
- HTTP / HTTPs admin access
- Activity plots for CPU, Memory, Network
- Disk usage pie chart
- Sortable process list
- Online help
- Logged in user display