Hands on review: Asus AS7008T NAS
Asus storage subsidiary, Asustor is the news kid on the block when it comes to network attached storage hardware. They're also the storage subsidiary of PC, component maker Asus. Their latest, the AS7008T is aimed at SMEs wanting a robust and zippy network storage solution.
Look and Feel
Their latest, the AS7008T sports a horizontal design, with two columns of drive bays.
Looks-wise the AS7008T is a black-on-black industrial strength brick of storage goodness. It’d fit right in at Darth Vader’s bachelor pad. It’s a clean, sleek design that manages to look pretty serious and dare I say stylish - in a join the dark side of the force kind of way.
Bells and Whistles
Where most other NAS gear aimed at SME’s often uses a low end CPU, the AS7008T has an Intel Haswell Core-i3 processor under its hood. While it delivers a definite performance boost, it also commands a $2,535.06 sticker price. This puts it at the upper end of the NAS price spectrum.
You do get plenty of bang for your buck though. The AS7008T sports heaps of options on the connectivity front. It comes with a PCIe 3.0 8x expansion slot, VGA/HDMI outputs and USB plus eSATA ports.
A 350W Power Supply is present and the AS7008T also sports two quiet 120mm fans for cooling. Disk-wise, The AS7008T holds up to 8 drives which can be also configured as JBOD (just a bunch of disks), RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 or RAID 10.
Out of the box, Asustor provides two Ethernet cables, a power cord, plus screws for installing 2.5” or 3.5” drives, and an installation CD. I didn’t discover the CD until well after I’d got set up, so can attest to the fact that the setup process is straightforward. Things are helped along thanks to a friendly web UI that got started with a near idiot-proof step-by-step guide. The AS7008T also did a quick check for firmware updates as part of the setup process.
The web UI’s initial login screen provides a brief high-level tour covering most of the AS7008T’s features. The storage manager is pretty flexible and allows users to have a look at the various disks and volumes installed. There are plenty of access control options, which can be based on users and shared folders. Encryption can be enabled on a shared folder basis as well.
I was pleased to see App Central was present. This provides access to a pile of downloadable apps designed for Asus NAS hardware. A Backup & Restore function plus external remote access are also baked in. In short about the only thing missing features-wise is a kitchen sink (which may be available via App Central).
The AS7008T was fast for a network-connected drive. Rebuilding RAID configurations was quick, taking approximately 19-20 minutes. That’s almost half the time taken by my exiting NAS drive. Files flew off the drive over a Gigabit Ethernet connection and were pretty zippy over a wireless connection. Simultaneous file requests saw no noticeable impact and streaming video was hiccup-free.
The AS7008T scored well on two fronts. A Haswell processor made a difference performance-wise and its web UI was both intuitive and useful.
While a PCIe expansion slot adds some future proofing, I couldn’t help but wonder how much it added cost-wise. This said, the AS7008 delivered solid performance and has a great feature set. For business users wanting a no compromise option for setting up shared file access, the AS7008T is a great option.
CPU: Intel Core i3 (3.5 GHz Haswell x86) RAM: 2GB (Max 16GB) Drive Bays: 8x 3.5"/2.5" SATA II / III HDD / SSD Network: 2x Gigabit Ethernet I/O: 3x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 2x eSATA, VGA/HDMI Expansion: PCIe 3.0 x8