Exterior Design and Hardware Configuration
The exterior design resembles the latest generations of QNAP products. The ASUSTOR AS-604T even has the same dimensions of 17x23x18 cm. The front panel is made of dark matte plastic. In its top part we can see a 2-line dot matrix display with four control buttons. Two lines of information are not enough for the display to be really easy to use, though. Below it, there are four HDD bays that lack any locks. HDDs are installed on frames made of metal and plastic. Each bay has two LED indicators. On the left and below the manufacturer’s logo, there’s a Power button, some more indicators (power, status, LAN, copying), a USB 3.0 port and a quick copy button. You can regulate the brightness of the LEDs and even turn them off altogether.
The bronze-colored top panel is made of aluminum. At the back we can see a large grid of the NAS’s 120mm cooling fan. The PSU’s vent grid and mains connector are above it. The PSU has a cooling fan too, but it’s hidden inside the chassis to reduce noise. The NAS’s I/O connectors are placed along the right edge of the back panel: a second USB 3.0 port, two eSATA connectors, four USB 2.0 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports with indicators, and an HDMI output. A hidden Reset button (you can disable it) and a Kensington slot can also be found here. The NAS stands on four feet with rubber soles.
The interior design of the AS-604T is similar to other products of this class. The PCBs, disk bays, power supply, fan and front panel are all secured on a steel chassis. The quality of manufacture is immaculate. The hardware platform is based on the Intel Atom 2700 processor which is clocked at 2.13 GHz, has two cores and can execute four instruction threads concurrently. It is accompanied by an Intel ICH10R chipset whose SATA and USB 2.0 controllers are used to support the NAS’s external ports. The disk bays are connected via SATA 6 Gbit/s Marvell 88SE9125 chips whereas USB 3.0 is implemented via a NEC D720200. The Ethernet interface is based on Broadcom’s BCM57781 controllers. There are two SO-DIMM slots for system memory but only one of them is occupied by a 1GB DDR3 module. You can enlarge the amount of memory by installing a second module. Replacing the first one would be a violation of the warranty terms. The 1GB flash disk you can spot on the PCB stores a bootloader and firmware. The OS is installed on a 2GB partition on the HDD.
The integrated PSU from FSP is rated for 250 watts. Its 40mm fan is hidden inside the NAS’s chassis and doesn’t produce much noise. It is the back-panel 120mm fan that is mostly responsible for ventilation. Using a 3-pin connection, it supports automatic and manual speed regulation. The hardware components lack any fans and only have a couple of heatsinks. The main fan never accelerates to high speeds so the NAS is overall average in terms of noisiness, which means that you will hardly want to keep it on your desk.
Thus, the ASUSTOR AS-604T is a typical x86-based NAS platform enhanced with a few external controllers. SATA 6 Gbit/s looks more like a formality but USB 3.0 may come in handy for expanding the storage capacity.
After installing new HDDs, you can initialize this NAS in several ways using its display and buttons or its web-interface or the Control Center utility. In the first case you won’t be able to change any settings because the process is automatic. The other two methods permit you to specify such parameters as network name, password, system time, network addresses, and disk volume type. You can optionally create an account at the ASUSTOR website which is needed to install additional software modules.
The AS-604T can check out for firmware updates via the internet and report to the user about them. If the user accepts, the NAS proceeds to download and install new firmware. We used firmware version 1.0.8.R2K3 for our tests.
The web-interface is available in several languages and can use HTTPS (you can change port numbers and install your own certificate). It has an integrated help system with search capability. You can make it log off automatically after a specified period of time. Its interface is original but resembles other NASes in certain aspects. The main window offers 11 icons by default. You can open several windows simultaneously, switch between them, minimize them into the status bar but cannot resize them. The user interface’s background and text color are customizable.
Ordinary users can access the web-interface as well but will only see what the administrator permits them, for example the file manager.