Product Lust o' the Week: The Asustor 602T NAS

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I’ve had a number of network attached storage systems in for review over the years and today’s review looks at one of the best: The Asustor AS-602T.

The 602T is a good fit for SOHO, SMB, and workgroup use as well as for digital home entertainment systems. It’s powered by an Intel Atom™ 2.13 GHz Dual-Core Processor with 1GB SO-DIMM DDR3 (expandable to 3GB), can use 2.5” or 3.5" SATA II/ III drives and provides two USB 3.0 ports (one on the front, the rest on the back), four USB 2.0 ports, and two eSATA ports. Network connections are two Gigabit Ethernet ports with support for IPv4 and IPv6, link aggregation (802.3ad) with seven modes for load balancing with or without network failover. There’s also one HDMI 1.3a port for connection to an amplifier or a video display.

Asustor 602T Network Attached Storage system

Asustor 602T Network Attached Storage system

The 602T is the two bay version of Asustor’s 6-series business NAS line (4-, 6-, and 8-bay versions are also available). As it comes without drives I used a couple of Western Digital's excellent Red NAS Hard Drive WD20EFRX 2TB IntelliPower 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" internal hard drives which are designed for NAS systems.

Disk configurations for the 602T include single disk (only one bay populated thus only one volume), JBOD (two bays populated that appear as two volumes) , RAID 0 (two drives as a single volume with data stripped across both drives), and RAID 1 (two drives mirrored). Drives up to 5TB have been tested with the 602T (a list of compatible drives is available).

Physically the 602T is modestly sized (6.4” tall by 4.3” wide by 9” deep) and has a polished, solid feeling design with drive trays that are hot-swappable and release with a push release button. There are no bay locks which means you don’t let that guy in the office who can’t stop himself pushing buttons anywhere near it. Another minor issue is the bays aren’t physically numbered which can lead to problems if a drive goes down and you pull out the wrong tray (this is easily fixed by the judicious use of stickers but Asustor should consider adding this minor improvement).

The 602T has low power requirements: 23.5W in operation, 19W when the disks are hibernating, and a measly 1.4W in sleep mode and you can set power schedules and Wake-on-LAN is supported. Impressively quiet with a sound output level of 24.3 dB(A) you could have a 602T running in your bedroom and you’d never hear it.

Setup is either through a provided utility which finds the 602T on your network or by logging into the device through its Web interface. Configuration is very straightforward so I won’t bore you with the details but I will note that you can even set the brightness of the LED indicators that show status, LAN, disk, power, and backup (there’s even a night mode, useful if, as I mentioned above, you decide to locate a 602T in your bedroom).

The Settings utility is accessed through the system’s Linux-based Asustor Data Master (ADM) Web-based windowed operating system. ADM is really impressive; it’s got a clean UI and is extremely fast, responsive, and well-organized. 

The Asustor 602T NAS

Asustor ADM 2.2 user interface with Settings app launched

All of the usual content access services are available including CIFS (with Active Directory support), AFP (with Time Machine support), NFS, FTP, WebDAV, HTTP, MySQL, SSH, and rsync.

ADM provides a number of applications pre-installed: There’s the Download Center for BitTorrent, FTP, and HTTP downloads, File Explorer and FTP Explorer for managing content on the NAS, an iTunes Server (with AirPlay support and iOS remote pairing), Surveillance Center with 4 channel live monitoring (the number of channels can be increased by purchasing a separate license), the SoundsGood music organizer, Takeasy (a downloader for videos on YouTube, Vimeo, YouKu, etc.), a UPnP Media Server, and a VPN client and server.

The Asustor 602T NAS

Asustor's App Central app

But wait! There’s more! Currently 126 additional apps can be installed, managed, and updated through the App Central application. These apps cover everything from system and network utilities through languages (PERL, Ruby, Java, Python, PHP), social networking and productivity, to backup and content management. And to round out that offering Asustor also provides a number of iOS and Android apps that allow you to manage and monitor Asustor NAS systems remotely (there's even a media player remote control app).

So, what does this amazing collection of features and performance cost? Without drives, the Asustor 602T is available for around $400 which compares favorably with similar offerings from other vendors. Asustor is one of the newer NAS vendors but the 602T places them squarely in the same market as the bigger and older players. I’m very impressed and the Asustor 602T gets a Gearhead rating os 5 out of 5.

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