Asustor AS-604T NAS server review:

Highly sophisticated NAS server, simplified

To launch an app, just double-click its icon. Each app has its own window within the Web interface, and you can minimize the window to a button on the task bar located on the top of the interface. You can run multiple apps at once.

On the left end of the task bar is the minimize-all button, which quickly minimizes all open windows, similar to the way the Show Desktop button works in the Windows operating system. On the other end of the task bar is a search function that allows you to search for both apps and server settings, much in the way that Spotlight works in iOS.

This search is an excellent design feature that helps a great deal with managing the server, considering the number of settings and features it has to offer. For example, if you want to turn on support for Time Machine, just click the search icon and search for "Apple" or "Time Machine" or "Mac." A list of related items will be displayed, and you can quickly jump to the right setting. This eliminates the need to remember where certain settings are located, or having to scroll between pages of apps to look for the one you want to run.

Overall, the interface is very impressive with smooth animation and fading effects. It's also very responsive, making the server really a pleasure to use.

The Asustor AS-604T supports all platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. As mentioned above, the server can work as a native Time Machine backup server, and you can also make it part of a domain when used in a centralized network. On top of that, you can add a huge number of features to the server via add-on apps using Asus' App Central.

The App Central works similarly to Apple's App Store and comes with hundreds of free apps that add more functions and features to the NAS server.
App Central works similarly to Apple's App Store and comes with hundreds of free apps that add more functions and features to the NAS server. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

App Central is Asus' equivalent of the App Store for iOS devices, where you can browse existing software, and add, remove, or update it. You can download up to five apps at a time -- and there are hundreds of them available. App Central also permits adding an app manually, should you want to develop one yourself. Those listed in App Central, however, have been officially verified by Asus to ensure their function and stability.

Owing to the large inventory of apps I was unable to test them all, but those I tried worked very well. The Download Center, for example, is a comprehensive tool for obtaining software. Here you can do a torrent search for what you want, then double-click the result to start downloading it immediately. Each search is saved should you want to go back to refresh the search. The app can also download from other sources, such as HTTP or FTP sites, and it supports downloading from sites that require authentication.

The Download Center app is one of many apps that add great value to the server. Note the search function of the interface.
The Download Center is one of many apps that add great value to the server. Note the search function of the interface. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

The Asustor AS-604T needs only one network port to work, but its two ports can be used together for all the applicable purposes. This means you can use both for load-balancing, fail-safe, or, when used with a supported switch, link-aggregation for better data speed.

Overall, the Asustor AS-604T is one of few servers on the market that offers an array of features as varied as this. The server also worked very smoothly during the testing period and remained quiet even during heavy loads.

I tested the Asustor AS-604T with just one of its network ports in RAID 5 and RAID 0 configurations, and it excelled in both.

In RAID 5, which is the most popular since it balances storage space, performance, and data safety, the server scored 91MBps and 95MBps for writing and reading, respectively. In RAID 0, the server performed even better, charting scores of 109MBps for writing and 111MBps reading.

Overall, these numbers were among the fastest I've seen, topping the charts for four-bay NAS servers.

NAS performance scores (via wired Gigabit Ethernet connection, measured in megabytes per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

With a large selection of add-on apps, an intuitive and robust interface, and stellar performance, the Asustor AS-604T NAS server is an excellent network storage device. Kudos to Asus for successfully combining useful features of both Windows and Mac OS into a new and pleasant NAS experience.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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