A capable four-drive NAS with a wealth of features and decent performance at a palatable price.
T he Asustor AS5104T definitely looks like the bigger brother to the AS5002T, and similarly its hot-swap caddies are actually interchangeable – although the AS5104T’s caddies include a little screwlock to prevent idle hands from casually popping out a drive. Someone with a screwdriver could still remove one, but at least you can be protected against petty fiddling in an office environment.
Apart from the extra drive bays and space to accommodate them, the chassis offers the same features as the AS5002T. There’s a USB 3 port on the front and two more round the back, plus two USB 2 ports, two eSATA and two Gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as HDMI and optical S/PDIF audio. The LCD panel and associated buttons on the front are welcome additions: aside from providing useful information about the status of the device, these also allow you to perform functions such as initialising new disks or restarting the system.
The Asustor setup routine doesn’t provide much feedback about progress but the main menu is one ofthe more user-friendly. The icons lead to submenus that don’t overload you with options, but still offer plenty of configuration, such as load balancing the twin LAN ports or mapping iSCSI LUNs. There’s an extensive library of apps you can download and install onto the device,which will turn this NAS device into all manner of web and media servers.
Asustor has beefed up the internal specification over the AS5002T, with a quad-core 2GHz Intel Celeron J1900 and 2GB of DDR3 memory. This propelled the AS5104T to some of the best performance scores this month. It was third quickest when writing a large file with a speed in excess of 100MB/sec, although reading it back was a little slower than with the fastest devices, slipping below the 100MB/sec threshold.
The speed at which the AS5104T backs up multiple small files is also decent, although the Qnap TS-453mini beat it here, as did both Synology models. Indeed, it’s only marginally faster than its far cheaper sibling in this test.
It’s also worth noting that the AS5104T is one of the more power-hungry devices on test this month. At peak load, for example, it drew 31W.
Overall, though, the Asustor AS5104T offers a good balance of performance, features and value.
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