Final Words & Conclusion
Final Words & Conclusion
The AS3204T at a price of 399 USD/EURO screams performance, features and even value. Choose the 2-bay version (and fill them up-to 16 TB) and settle at 299 USD/EUR. Combined with a processor that offers plenty power and 2 GB of memory this NAS is very comfortable for you centralized storage needs. The AS3204T is silent and energy friendly as well. Combined with the extensive ADM software suite this NAS simply ticks all the right boxes.
This box that is highly configurable in terms of HDDs capability. Full RAID with the 4-bay version, and RAID 0, 1 / JBOD functionality with 2 tray versions bringing some extra value into this little NAS unit, being a value offering it does not come with hot-spares / trays / displays and HDMI. The 4-bay version as tested today can go wider in your RAID needs. RAID wise mirroring we can understand for failsave need. Performance wise with current gen HDDs you will not need RAID as you simply cannot pass the 125 MB/sec marker Gigabit over Ethernet) anyway. The unit as tested today can take massive TB sized HDDs, so if you use four 8 TB HDDs you are going to see a 32 TB NAS unit, with proper performance.
We reached high transfer speeds over our Gigabit Ethernet connection and though Ethernet will always bring in some performance and lag issues over a network connection I must admit that I liked what I saw, it's plenty fast for all your activities. With large files and a fast enough HDD over a Gigabit connection you will reach 110~118 MB/sec on read and writes. So for this type of Ethernet connection, really it can hardly go any faster. The performance is lovely when you take the processor into account, the quad-core low power Celereon combined with 2 GB memory. Whatever we tried the AS3204T simply did not run into any performance issues. Then one thing that was slow was the file-sytem buildup with an 8 TB HDD. Just after first use HDD partitioning and formatting you can already use the HDD, but the EXT4 formatting needs time. Other than that on the GUI and OS side of things we can say that the NAS is responsive and very fast. The usage of this processor also makes your applications fast enough, anything Apache and MySQL/MariaDB related for home usage will function fine as well.
Here we land at the rest of the features and functions. You'll have your FTP server, you can upload images and music, make slideshows out of it and show it on the web server of the device or watch photos and videos with the help of a software suite on your smartphone. You can stream DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) and this NAS can be automatically discovered by Digital Media Players (DMP), Digital Media Renders (DMR) and Digital Media Controllers (DMC) allowing Pictures, Music and Video to be shared instantly at any time at home. All DLNA Certified Devices are capable of streaming content instantly from this NAS. The NAS can act as an iTunes server, with your mobile or say Apple iPod Touch you can stream music over Wifi. You can share files over the internet if you wanted to, and the list goes on and on. Keep in mind though that everything on this box is targeted at consumers and small business users (SOHO). Though you can access the WEB directory and make your own website, control and configuration over say the MySQL server we do warn you to take security measures. Make sure you secure your public files with proper Unix/Linux permissions. Thus at least a CHMOD 755 on Directories and preferable 644 on files. You can login to the box through SSH. The application list you can use on this machine is ginormous. Who even thinks of making a torrent download server inside the NAS box? You insert a .torrent file in the software option and all of the sudden the NAS is downloading content from the internet. It's nearly crazy to witness, how nice is that.
We tested this unit with an SSD so that we are certain that the storage unit can never be a bottleneck in terms of measuring storage performance. This SSD uses roughly 5 Watts in idle and 10 Watt under load (one HDD). The traditional HDD these days uses roughly 5 to 8 Watts. Add say 8 watt per extra HDD under load. With 4 HDDs in sleep mode you are still looking at an idle wattage of roughly 10 Watts. A great number considering we are running a quad-core processor and 2 GB memory. We assume you will add more HDDs thus add another 5~7 Watts per unit. However, if your HDD is not used for say 30 minutes (or your own configured sleep time), it'll go into sleep mode and thus does not use any extravagant power. ASUSTOR offers very energy efficient NAS units, which is an important thing considering they run 365 days a year 24 hours a day.
Final Words & Verdict
Though I am still a little in love with that value AS1002T we recently tested, the AS3204T simply offers more stamina in its processor and memory configuration. That will make the product more future proof. Obviously the AS3204T also comes with a HDMI 1.4b output that you can use. Install Kodi (available app) and your can playback 1080P content, even HD audio streams. As lovely as that features is, we however doubt people actually do use it with modern age TVs and their great Smart TV functionality. But it's certainly a nice feature to have.
Pricing wise the 4-bay unit as tested 399 USD feels a bit on the high side compared to the 2-bay version at 299 USD. If you are savvy with up-to 16 TB of storage, my advise would be to pursue that 2-bay version as that's great value for money. Regardless, both versions easily outclass any NAS in this performance pricing wise. We do see more and more competition on the NAS market though, and that has an adverse effect on pricing, that's good news for SOHO and consumers. The performance is very good. Combined with the ADM software suite and applications this low power unit will be a terrific choice for a home server. File-sharing, Usenet, file-server, streaming you name it this AS3204T offers it all. As always, there are so many more options and features available that we have not been able to discuss. The problem is that a NAS is not just a file-server anymore, these are fully fledged centralized file serving servers with a plethora of applications and functionality.This is a proper Gigabyte Ethernet compatible NAS at under 299 / 399 USD depending on the model you choose, it really is value for what you receive especially compared to names like QNAP.
The ASUSTOR AS3204T are great performing NAS units with all the whistles and bells available that you require. Highly recommended and covered with a three year warranty, that's worthy of our hard to earned Storage Sweetness award. The second time ASUSTOR receives one, hey it is well deserved!
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