Early 2015, we had the AS7004T in-house for a full review. That unit came with 2GB of memory and a Core i3 at its heart. Now a few years have passed and requirements have changed for NAS platforms to the point we have a revamped SKU of the 7004T in-house; AS7004T-i5.
Physically this model isn't different at all, it shares the same enclosure, drive trays and rear I/O but internally things are much different. This latest model, works off the Intel Core i5 processor effectively doubling the core count of the original while keeping the AES-NI encryption engine and hardware acceleration engines. This new solution offers up a 3.0GHz quad-core paired with 8GB of DDR3 still expandable to 16GB via the DDR3 SO-DIMM standard.
Drive compatibility continues to climb, with this model supporting 12TB drives with a peak capacity across four bays at 48TB. RAID modes include 0,1,5,6 and 10 along with JBOD while the Internal filesystem is limited to EXT4 only. External drives can use FAT32, NTFS, EXT3/4 and HFS+.
For those wanting to use the AS7004T as a security workhorse, this platform supports 64 IP Cameras with local display the most of any prosumer NAS on the market.
MSRP of the Asustor AS7004T-i5 comes in at $1099.99 with a three-year warranty.
Asustor AS7004T-i5 NAS Appliance
Packaging and a Closer Look
Packaging for the AS7004T offers an image of the NAS centered and a full house of marketing logos across the bottom.
Specifications are found on the side of the box and include ASUS mobile apps to the right and hardware specs to the left.
The package includes two cat5 ethernet cables, the power cable and drive screws.
The AS7004T is a four-bay device as such we have four locking trays front and center. Above a small LCD screen with blue backlight. The power button can be found to the left and below that the one-touch copy USB 3.0 port.
On the backside, we have a full I/O starting from the top with HDMI 1.4 supporting 4K30p. This is followed by dual USB 3.0 ports and our first Gigabit ethernet port. Next, we have two USB 2.0 ports and another gigabit ethernet port and rounding out the I/O, dual eSATA ports and optical audio.
The drive trays have an underlying metal frame to aide in durability while the locking mechanism is plastic to match the NAS enclosure.
Inside the drive bays, we find a standard SATA backplane.
Test System Setup and Web Management
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z370 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i3 8350K (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4x8GB DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Air 540 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
- Wi-Fi NIC: ASUS PCE-AC88 (buy from Amazon)
- 10Gbe NIC: ASUS XG-C100C (buy from Amazon)
- Thunderbolt 3: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
When we are testing Diskless NAS platforms, the Toshiba High-Reliability N300 are the drives used.
The dashboard of the Asustor ADM platform gives us a desktop environment to work from. This includes several icons that are shortcuts to manage the NAS platform.
Diving into the Storage Manager, we have our first look at the configured volume at the top and the number of disks below.
The volume tab, goes into further detail on the drives installed. Above, we can see the RAID mode and filesystem
The disk menu gives us the health of each drive along with capacity.
The settings menu is a general location to configure the broad range of options for the NAS. We start with display customization including the desktop wallpaper if wanted.
The network tab gives access to both gigabit Ethernet ports and if you have a USB Wi-Fi adapter it will show up here as well.
On the hardware tab, we have access to the front panel LEDs, system buzzer along with energy control and fan control.
ADM defender allows you to create lists of devices allowed to access the NAS system, you can also make a list of devices not allowed in the black list.
For those that want access to their NAS from anywhere in the world, Asustor aides in setup with EZ-Connect.
Local network browsing can be completed via a few services, the first being SMB. One tab down allows setup of AFP and the last is NFS.
Backup features include remote sync, FTP backup along with one touch and external options. At the bottom of this menu, you can setup Cloud backup.
ADM has a large library of applications that work with it. Every time I have a new unit in-house for review this selection seems to increase in size. That said it has all of the basics including Google Drive, One Drive, and Plex.
Benchmarks - Single Client Throughput
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
Starting testing, we begin with RAID 0. The Asustor in dark blue for these charts, we see pretty solid performance in Single client workloads. Peaks reach 115 MB/s in playback and 117 MB/s in File copy.
RAID 5 took a small performance hit, playback peaking at 110 MB/s and file copy 72 MB/s.
Moving to RAID 6, we see performance stay at 110 MB/s for Playback. File copy seems to be a bit higher at this point reaching 114 MB/s.
Benchmarks - Sequential and Mixed Workloads
Benchmarks - Sequential Workloads
Our Sequential read/write workload is centered on 128K transfer sizes.
Starting with Sequential read performance, all three modes seem to do quite well maxing out the capabilities of our gigabit ethernet connection at 118 MB/s.
Sequential write was similar with RAID 0 and 5 touch 118 MB/s and RAID 6 115 MB/s.
Benchmarks - Mixed Workloads
RAID 0 workload testing showed quite clearly, the Asustor excels with database reaching over 3000 IOPS. File Server topped out at 1750 IOPs and Email just under 1500 IOPs.
RAID 5 or SHR1 for Synology units had flipped File Server to the top reaching a peak of 1900 IOPs.
RAID 6 or SHR2 for Synology devices, had database at the peak once again with the AS7004T-i5 reaching 1400 IOPs.
As we found in testing, the AS7004T-i5 certainly has its place in the market as a pure storage appliance. When compared to previously tested platforms the Asustor solution was consistently near the top of our charts, particularly in sequential and database workloads. Build quality is solid and on par with expectations for a prosumer unit. Like many appliances that use this same enclosure design, the 7004T is easily disassembled allowing for easy memory upgrades.
Going into more detail, the performance of this platform is solid and certainly top notch for the four-bay prosumer market. The power of the Core i5 processor eliminates any and all slow down you would experience from a lesser powered platform. In single client testing, we found this NAS to perform amazingly well in playback and record scenarios and sequential testing, proved this solution to reach peaks of 118 MB/s with lows around 110 MB/s in RAID 6. Moving to workloads, this platform seems to excel with database and file server workloads with those two being at the peak during testing.
ADM has grown so much over the years this platform has now come into its own with a full app library, extensive storage options both internal and external. With the HDMI port, you have a full multimedia experience available to you and Surveillance Center enables a high-quality security solution for your home or business.
The Bottom Line: With the AS7004T-i5, Asustor leaves nothing on the table deploying quite possibly the best prosumer four bay appliance we have seen.
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