Earlier this year we here at TweakTown had the chance to review the AS-604T NAS appliance from ASUSTOR, a model that was targeted towards business environments. Switching gears, ASUSTOR is now entering the home and SOHO market space offering a full lineup of multimedia rich features in the new AS-20xT and AS-20xTE NAS appliances.
Today, we have the distinct opportunity to take a look at the AS-202TE, the TE version of the 202 NAS from ASUSTOR is the top of the line 2-bay solution in the 2 series, and features upgraded memory at 1GB and an integrated HDMI port for viewing your media through the ever popular XBMC. Additional features include ASUSTOR's ADM 2.0 NAS OS with CIFS, AFP and NFS file sharing protocols.
Hardware Specifications and Pricing
Modern NAS servers have moved beyond data storage through a wire network. In order to get the most out of a NAS you need to look at the extra I/O hardware and the mountain of potential software features.
The ASUSTOR AS-202TE is built on the Intel Atom 1.2GHz processor platform, next to this you will find 1GB of DDR3 DRAM. For connecting external devices, you will find on the back of the unit dual USB 3.0 ports, along with dual USB 2.0 ports and a single gigabit Ethernet port.
Additionally, the TE models include built-in infrared receivers for controlling XBMC via the optional ASUSTOR media remote, HDMI ports for watching your media on the big screen and an external audio jack for connecting up speakers to the NAS.
Pricing of the 2-bay ASUSTOR AS-202TE at this time is set at $259.99, with the larger 4-bay (AS-204TE) available for $429.99. Warranty is listed at two years.
NAS products are equal parts hardware performance and software features. One compliments the other in a balanced product. You need more hardware performance to run more software features at the same time.
The Control Center is the base of the finder application offered by ASUSTOR. Within this lightweight application, you can initialize and setup your NAS appliance for initial use.
To initialize the NAS, we tossed a couple WD Red NAS drives in and began the setup.
The NAS will go through several steps on its own, including downloading the latest version of ADM.
After ADM is downloaded and installed, you can choose between one click setup and the custom option.
During the setup procedure, you have the option of setting your RAID array to your liking. By default, the NAS selects single disk mode, but you have the options of RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD.
After the setup is complete, you can enter the ADM web manager. Here you can see it has a desktop feel similar to what a lot of other NAS manufacturers are doing.
One of the leading features of the 202TE is the many apps that ASUSTOR now offers with their NAS appliance - here are just a few of the ASUSTOR developed applications. In addition to the ASUSTOR apps, there is a large and growing third-party development community surrounding ASUSTOR.
From the services menu, you have access to CIFS, AFP, NFS and FTP servers to name a few. Additionally, there is the MySQL server for databases and Rsync to keep your appliances synchronized across the network.
The settings menu allows you to change the system port and furthermore the network options. Moving down the menu, you will find the ADM defender, which is ASUSTOR's in-house security solution for their appliances.
The Storage manager allows you to create, remove and even migrate your RAID arrays.
Packaging and the AS-202TE
The packaging for the AS-202TE carries a sleek and simple design. The sticker on the front of the packaging offers information on the NAS.
The scope of delivery for the AS-202TE includes a single CAT5e Ethernet cable, manual and software on disk.
The front of the AS-202TE shares a similar design to previous ASUSTOR products. From the top, we have the power button to the left, and infrared receiver to the right. Moving on down, we have the USB copy and port, and the dual drive bays.
The back of the AS-202TE houses the audio port up top and USB 3.0 port below that. Further down, we have the HDMI port and single gigabit Ethernet port.
The drive trays are lined with a thin layer of plastic with 2.5" drive mounting capability.
Optionally, you can purchase the ASUSTOR remote control. This remote syncs up effortlessly to the AS-202TE and allows you to control the XBMC application from your couch.
The remote itself is rather small, but fits quite well in the palm of your hand. At the top, we have the power button, and to the left and right the home and settings buttons.
Test System Setup
Our Consumer NAS test 'system' is setup similar to what you have at home. Here we have the base of a GIGABYTE Z77X UP5 TH housing an Intel Core i5 3570K with 16GB of RAM supporting. Our Operating System of choice is Windows 8 x64 Enterprise with all available updates and patches installed on a Corsair Neutron 256GB SSD. On the networking side we utilize the Intel PRO1000 PT Server Adapter with a direct connection to each NAS appliance. This eliminates the need for a switch and any bottlenecks that may occur.
This level of testing wouldn't be possible without the help and support from several companies, many of which have little to do with NAS products. We would like to thank Corsair, GIGABYTE and Western Digital for their much-appreciated support.
The Intel NAS Performance Toolkit (NASPT) is a file system exerciser and analysis tool designed to enable direct measurement of home network attached storage (NAS) performance. Designed to emulate the behavior of an actual application, NASPT uses a set of real-world workload traces gathered from typical digital home applications. Traces of high definition video playback and recording, office productivity applications, video rendering/content creation and more provide a broad range of different application behaviors.
Western Digital RED - The NAS HDD
TweakTown uses Western Digital RED 1TB hard drives for all of our NAS tests. You can read our full review of the Western Digital RED 1TB here.
Benchmarks - Single Client Throughput
HD Video Play - 720p HD stream from Windows Media Player* 256kB reads
2HD Video Play - 2x playback
4HD Video Play - 4x playback
HD Video Record - 720p HD stream, 256kB writes
File Copy From NAS - 4GB file copy, 64kB reads
File Copy To NAS - 64kB writes
Above we have the results of our single client workload for the AS-202TE in RAID 0. As seen above, the NAS did quite well with file copy operations at 99 MB/s to and 81 MB/s from the NAS. Video record was equally impressive at 94 MB/s.
Single client through put in RAID 1 put the AS-202TE at the top of our charts in every aspect. File copy operations again were top notch coming in at 99.6 MB/s to the NAS and 71 MB/s from the NAS. Video playback and record operations also stand out from the pack.
Benchmarks - Random and Sequential Workloads
Our 4K Random read/write workload consists of sixteen threads all at QD16, results our measured in IOPS (Input Output Operations per Second). The AS-202TE did quite well during 4K write operations, leading the pack at 1435 IOPS. Random write IOPS came in at 317 in RAID 0.
RAID 1 left the AS-202TE second in our charts in 4K write IOPS measured at 806. On the read side, we achieved 80 IOPS.
Our sequential read/write workload is centered on 1MB transfer sizes again with 16 threads and a Queue Depth of 16. Above, we find the 202TE again excelling in write IOPS at 111, with read IOPS at 72.
RAID 1 results for our sequential testing had the AS-202TE setting at 4.66 IOPS read and 19.38 IOPS write.
Benchmarks - Power Consumption and Acoustics
Our power consumption testing involves running the power supply from the NAS through the output on our Kill-A-Watt meter. Results are recorded at several intervals including Idle, peak and after the drives enter standby.
Above, we have our results from the power consumption testing. At peak during our workload testing, the ASUSTOR AS-202TE consumed 26 watts. After we allowed the unit to idle out power consumption lowered to a reasonable 21 watts, and when the drives spun down, the unit consumed just 11 watts.
Acoustics are measured from a distance of one foot with our IEC Type II Sound Level Meter.
After initializing the AS-202TE, we measured a peak noise level of 32.8dBa, after the unit idled, noise was lower at 29.3dBA.
The new 2 series line-up of NAS appliances from ASUSTOR offer an affordable and well powered option for those of you in the market for a storage solution and media solution in one device. Similar to what other NAS vendors offer, ASUSTOR too allows access to XBMC via the integrated HDMI port, giving you the perfect ironed out solution for entertainment, whether it be HD video or listening to your music collection or even streaming to multiple devices on the network.
The ASUSTOR unit also offers a number of backup options including Rsync, which I recently started using myself, and have found it incredibly simple to use. Through this protocol, you can setup, like I have a very quick NAS with a RAID 0 setup to access your data quickly, which is then backed up to a more resilient array such as a RAID 5 or 6 on another appliance. Additionally, ASUSTOR offers Amazon S3 cloud and Dropbox access and of course the USB One Touch backup via the front mounted USB 3.0 port.
Applications made available within the NAS management system are quite plentiful and include Download Center, Surveillance Center and SoundsGood to name a few. There is also a growing third-party development community that will only further enrich the experience you get from ASUSTOR appliances.
Pricing at the time of writing for the 2-bay AS-202TE allows for a MSRP of $259.99 as a diskless solution. Comparable products in market have the QNAP TS-269L priced much higher at $449.99, and the Thecus N2560 we recently reviewed at $339.99. This effectively puts ASUSTOR in the lead when it comes to features obtained for the price you pay.
In short, if you're looking for a simple 2-bay solution with a feature rich environment and at a good price, you want the ASUSTOR AS-202TE.
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