Asustor AS-608T review

£658
Price when reviewed

Since its formation this year, Asustor has been busy expanding its range of NAS appliances. The starting line-up of six models has doubled over recent months and in this review we look at its flagship business desktop model, the eight-bay AS-608T.

Along with its eight, hot-swap SATA drive bays, the AS-608T sprouts oodles of connectivity with pairs of Gigabit, eSATA and USB 3 ports, and four USB 2 ports at the rear.

The hardware inside is capable: all of Asustor’s business devices use a 2.13GHz Atom CPU and the installed 1GB of DDR3 memory is upgradeable to 3GB. Cooling is quiet, too, thanks to the pair of 120mm chassis fans.

Up front, a clear LCD panel provides essential information, and the menu system is easily navigated using the group of four buttons alongside. Unusually, though, the rear HDMI port means that it’s also possible to connect the AS-608T to a TV or monitor. The free Boxee app provides an on-screen interface for browsing movies, Internet TV and local media folders and watching video on the big screen.

The Asustor Data Master (ADM) web interface is well designed, and we used it to update the appliance to the latest ADM 2.0. This looks fairly similar to Synology’s DSM front-end, and presents an intuitive, icon-based desktop. The interface can be customised with personal wallpapers linked to each user account, and the main ADM icons positioned as required or pinned to the taskbar for faster access.

Asustor AS-608T

Mobile access gets a boost, too. The new AiMaster and AiData apps can be used to manage multiple appliances and access shared data. We loaded AiMaster on an iPad, and once we’d enabled Asustor’s Cloud Connect and EZ-Router, we could manage the appliance remotely, run backup jobs and control its services.

As a backup appliance, the AS-608T has potential. There are apps for DropBox file synchronisation and support for Amazon’s S3. We tested both and for the latter we could browse our S3 buckets and choose which one the scheduled backup job should upload to or download from.

You can run backups to and from Rsync servers, FTP servers and external USB or eSATA devices. It’s also possible to configure the One-Touch button on the front of the unit to perform a specific backup job. Asustor includes its Backup Plan software which runs scheduled backups or synchronises folders from Windows 7, 8 and Server 2012 hosts.

For testing we installed three 2TB WD Enterprise SE SATA 3 drives and used the Control Center utility to prepare the appliance and create a RAID-5 array.

The Atom CPU may be looking dated but it’s still a good performer. For drag and drop copies of a 2.52GB video clip between the appliance and a Windows Server 2012 system, we saw read and write rates of 105MB/sec and 95MB/sec.

The AS-608T wasn’t far behind the A-Listed Synology DS1513+ for general backup operations either. Copying our 22.4GB collection of 10,500 small files averaged 67MB/sec – Synology achieved 72MB/sec. Re-running this test using the Backup Plan software saw the average speed drop slightly to 63MB/sec.

Asustor may be a latecomer to the SMB NAS market, but we’ve been hugely impressed by the appliances we’ve tested so far. The ADM software has gone from strength to strength; overall performance is competitive; and, most crucially of all, the AS-608T is better value than rivals such as Synology’s DS1813+ and Qnap’s TS869 Pro. This is a top choice for SMBs, and comes highly recommended.

Basic specifications

RAID capability yes
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Services

FTP server? yes
UPnP media server? yes
Other media servers iTunes
Print server? no
Web hosting? yes
BitTorrent client? yes

Connections

Ethernet ports 2
USB connection? yes
eSATA interface yes

Physical

Dimensions 293 x 230 x 216mm (WDH)

Security and administration

Admin support for users yes

Software

Software supplied Asustor Control Centre and Backup Plan software

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