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NAS Reviews

{mospagebreak toctitle= Introduction, Inside, Features}

Introduction

ASUSTOR AS-202TE/AS-204TE product shot

At a Glance
Product ASUSTOR AS-302T and AS-304T
Summary Intel Atom CE5335 dual-core two and four-bay NASes with HDMI, USB 3.0 and wide range of downloadable apps
Pros • Good value
• Wide range of downloadable apps
• Very quiet
• Attractive user interface
Cons • Long volume build times
Our recent review of ASUSTOR's Intel Atom CE5310-powered duo found a nice feature set, but relatively low performance among dual-core Atom powered NASes. This review of the company's Intel Atom CE5335-based "Home To Power User" AS-302T and AS-304T shows what a difference a slightly more powerful processor can make.

Model numbering for the 30X series doesn't follow the convention set in the 20X series. The 20X series includes "TE" versions that have an IR receiver, HDMI output, 3.5 mm Audio jack and 512 MB of additional RAM that are omitted from the "T" models. The 30X series has only two "T" suffix models, both of which include all the 20X series "TE" options. The comparison chart below, generated from the ASUSTOR web site summarizes the key features of the 20XT and 30XT models.

ASUSTOR AS-20XT /AS-30XT product comparison

ASUSTOR AS-20XT /AS-30XT product comparison

All the 30XT series physical features are the same as the 20XTE's. So check that review for the details.

Inside

The AS-30XTs are powered by a slightly more powerful Intel Atom CE5335 dual core processor running at 1.6 GHz than the 1.2 GHz CE5310 found on the 20XT and TEs. On the AS-304T, there's an Asmedia ASM1061 PCI Express to dual port SATA on the backplane to provide the third and fourth SATA ports for the four bay version.

  ASUSTOR AS-304T ASUSTOR AS-204TE
CPU Inel Atom CE5335 @ 1.6 GHz (dual core) Inel Atom CE5310 @ 1.2 GHz (dual core)
RAM 1 GB DDR3 on board 1 GB DDR3 on board
Flash 16 MB Spansion FL128SAIF00 16 MB Spansion FL128SAIF00
Ethernet Realtek RTL8211E Realtek RTL8211E
USB 3.0 Etron Tech EJ188H Etron Tech EJ188H
SATA Asmedia ASM1061 PCI Express to two ports of Serial ATA (on back plane - AS-304T only) Asmedia ASM1061 PCI Express to two ports of Serial ATA (on back plane - AS-204TE only)
Table 1: Key component summary and comparison

I'm including the photo I took of the AS-204TE's board to save you a click to the other review. As the AS-30XT board marking shows, both the 2 and 3 series use the same board.

ASUSTOR PCB component side

ASUSTOR PCB component side

For an inside shot of the chassis, check the AS-604T review.

Features

Same as described in the AS-20X series review.


Performance

ADM 2.1.1.R3B2 firmware was loaded onto an AS-304T for testing, using the recently introduced Revision 5 NAS test process. Since the AS-302T uses the same processor, RAM and Ethernet components, all testing was done on the AS-304T. The AS-304T tests used four drives configured in single RAID 0, 5 and 10 volumes. The AS-302T tests used two drives in single RAID 0 and 1 volumes.

The AS-304T's Benchmark Summary below shows Windows File Copy writes in a tight range of 80 to 86 MB/s and reads spread a bit wider from 86 to 103 MB/s, depending on RAID type. NASPT File Copy writes were in all in the 90 MB/s range with NASPT reads running lower in the 80's for RAID 0 and 5 and much lower for RAID 10 at 72 MB/s.

ASUSTOR AS-304T Benchmark Summary

ASUSTOR AS-304T Benchmark Summary

With two drives configured in RAID 0 and 1 to simulate an AS-302T, performance was generally in the same 80 to high 90 MB/s range, with an outlier of 73 MB/s for NASPT RAID 0 read.

ASUSTOR AS-302T Benchmark Summary

ASUSTOR AS-302T Benchmark Summary

Attached and network (rsync) backup was essentially the same whether two or four drives were used. Best attached backup was 48 MB/s for a USB 3.0 connected, NTFS formatted drive. Rsync backup was pretty zippy at around 55 MB/s, which is the second fastest we've seen to date.

iSCSI reads for both RAID 1 and 5 volumes were around 94 MB/s, while only RAID 1 write clocked in with similar performance. RAID 5 write measured 85 MB/s.

Comparative Performance - Four Bay

Filtering the NAS Ranker for four drives and sorting by ascending price, we find seven products less expensive than the $478 AS-304T, but none with a higher rank (lower numerically) than its #28 rank. As might be expected, the next closest in rank is the AS-204TE at #32 and $50 cheaper.

NAS Ranker -  4 bay NASes

NAS Ranker - 4 bay NASes

Comparing the Ranker Performance Summaries for the two products, there are multiple stregths for the 304T including generally higher write performance, better throughput for multiple video streams and higher iSCSI performance. Unless you're really pressed for cash, spending the extra $50 for the AS-304T is probably a good deal.

Ranker Performance Summary comparison of the ASUSTOR AS-604T, the AS-204TE and the Thecus N44560

Ranker Performance Summary comparison - four bay

If we add a dual-core Atom filter to the view, we find four products with better ranking than the AS-304T, including the top-ranked AS-604T in this class. But all are significantly more expensive, with the lowest being QNAP's TS-469L at $569.


Comparative Performance - Two Bay

Setting the NAS Ranker to two drive products and again sorting by ascending price, we have to go to the second page of results to find the AS-202TE and AS-302T sitting right next to each other. Both are again, the highest performing products for the least money, with the AS-202TE ranked #29 and priced at $258 and the AS-302T coming in at #24 and $315.

NAS Ranker - 2 bay NASes

NAS Ranker - 2 bay NASes

Comparing the Ranker Performance Summaries for the two products, the 302T ranks higher than the 202TE in all sub-ranks. This time, the price premium is a bit more for the 3 series product, about $57 at current prices.

Ranker Performance Summary comparison - two bay

Ranker Performance Summary comparison - two bay

If we once again add a dual-core Atom filter to the view, the AS-202TE ends up at the top of the sort, with the AS-302T right under it.

Closing thoughts

In the ASUSTOR 2-series review, we concluded the products were somewhat under-powered by Intel CE5310 Atoms. In its move up to the Intel CE5335, ASUSTOR got it right this time with the 3 series. Both the two bay AS-302T and four-bay AS-304T represent good values in both categories, regardless of processor class. Both deserve to be on your short list if you are looking for the current best value in two or four-bay NASes.

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