Asustor AS3202T 2-Bay NAS Review 0

Asustor AS3202T 2-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


We would like to thank Asustor for supplying the review sample.



In a recent review, we evaluated the AS3102T with a dual-core Intel Celeron CPU (N3050 Braswell). The AS31 line addresses users without high demands, while the fresh AS32 family is for more demanding home users in need of stronger hardware, which will not only speed up the regular functions of a NAS, but will allow it to more readily cope with high bitrate and resolution multimedia content.

Like most Asustor NAS servers, the AS3202T has an HDMI port, which will prove useful in a number of applications since an HDMI port can also be used to locally access the operating system of a NAS with nothing but an additional keyboard and/or a mouse. Every NAS should come with an HDMI port, especially since most SoCs support one without the need of additional expensive hardware.

The combination of an Intel Celeron J3160 processor and 2 GB of RAM looks promising for home use. However, we will figure out whether such is truly the case in our lengthy test sessions, and only after all test results are available will we draw a detailed, definite conclusion about the AS3202T's performance, which we will compare to competing offerings in this highly popular category (mid-range 2-bay NAS servers).

Specifications

Asustor AS3202T Specifications
ProcessorIntel Celeron J3160 Quad Core (burst up to 2.24 GHz)
Operating SystemEmbedded Linux
Memory2 GB SO-DIMM DDR3 (Not Expandable)
Storage2x 3.5"/2.5" SATA II/III
RAID Levels:Single Disk, JBOD,
RAID 0, 1
Capacityup to 16 TB (disks not included)
iSCSITarget & Initiator
AES-NI SupportYes
Networking1x 10/100/1000 Mbit Ethernet
I/O Ports3x USB 3.0
1x HDMI 1.4a
Dimensions165 (H) x 102 (W) x 218 (D) mm
6.5 (H) x 4.02 (W) x 8.58 (D) inch
Weight 1.17 kg
Power ConsumptionSleep: 0.79 W
In operation: 16.4 W
Disk hibernation: 7.75 W
(with 1x WD Red 3 TB HDD)
Power SupplyExternal, Delta Electronics DPS-65VB, 100-240 V
Fan1x 70 mm (FD127025HB)
Warranty3 years
Price excluding VAT
(at the time of the review)

$299

The A3202T uses a quad-core Braswell CPU with an incredibly low TDP of 6W, which is as much as the AS3102T's dual-core CPU (N3050). The J3160 CPU supports up to 8 GB of memory, but this NAS only comes with 2 GB that cannot be increased. Asustor at least made a point of using a dual-channel memory setup for higher performance. Since this is a home-centric NAS, there is only a single Gigabit Ethernet port, meaning there is no LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol) support over which to double network transfer speeds by teaming up two Ethernet ports. There are three USB 3.0 ports of which one is at the face of the NAS. There is no e-SATA port, which isn't a big deal since you can hook external storage devices up to the equally fast USB 3.0 ports. Lastly, an HDMI port enhances the server's multimedia abilities.

The unit is small, and its power consumption is low in all operational modes. Noise output is also low due to a relaxed fan profile for the 70mm YS Tech fan. The provided power brick is strong enough to support the AS3202T's low power demands, and it is nice to see a company provide a longer warranty than 2 years for a NAS product since today's market is full of high-end NAS servers (from other vendors) that are only supported by a 2-year warranty. Asustor is probably the only company so far to break this nasty trend. Hopefully, other NAS manufacturers will follow soon.

Packaging


The box looks exactly as with the AS3102T. On its front is a photo of the NAS, and inside a blue frame are the server's technical specifications. A small icon inside this frame points to the three-year warranty, which is one of the strongest assets of this product.


At the top of the box is a list of the contents inside, which are the NAS, an installation CD, a quick start guide, the power brick and its power cord, a LAN cable, and eight thumbscrews for the HDDs.


On one of two sides, Asustor shows us how the NAS can be configured through a smartphone or a tablet over the AiMaster app. They also claim that the creation of a dedicated cloud system is very easy with an Asustor NAS.


Asustor points to some of the most interesting usage scenarios for this NAS on the other side of the box.


You will find a brief multilingual features description on the rear of the box.

Contents & Bundle


Open the top flap of the box and you will be greeted by a "thank you" message and a number of QR codes which link to various Asustor-related pages. The NAS inside is well protected by a couple foam spacers.


A smaller box contains all the accessories. Asustor includes a software disc, which we believe is unfortunate since many PCs aren't equipped with an optical drive. They should provide a USB stick instead.


The power brick is made by Delta Electronics, the largest PSU OEM. Its model number is DPS-65VB, and it can deliver 65W of power, or 5.417 Amps with 12V output.

Exterior


The diamond-plate finish makes this NAS look pretty appealing. At the front are four LED indicators, the IR receiver, and a USB 3.0 port. The power switch isn't here, but at the rear, which is a very strange design choice.


Here is a description of the LED indicators at the face of the NAS.


A small label at the server's bottom lists the manufacturing country, which is Taiwan, the power input specifications, model number and serial number, and the Ethernet port's MAC address.


There are no ventilation grilles at the front or sides, which will surely lead to increased internal temperatures, especially if you use high capacity HDDs, which can get quite hot if in use constantly.


All I/O ports, the power input and power switch are at the rear.


You need to remove the side cover, which is easily done, in order to install HDDs. The NAS only uses thumbscrews, so you won't need any tools to do so.

A Look Inside

Removing the side cover was a very easy procedure since we only had to mess with two screws at the rear. However, taking the mainboard out of the chassis wasn't as easy since we had to remove the metal HDD cage along with the metal plate that covers the mainboard.


The small mainboard is underpopulated, and a significant part of its real-estate is taken up by the CPU's heatsink.


At the mainboard's solder side are a few ICs along with half of the memory modules, which are soldered into place.


Eight Samsung K4B2G1646Q-BYK0 modules are soldered to the front and rear of the mainboard. This means that RAM upgrades aren't possible, which is a great shame.


This NAS uses an Intel J3160 quad-core Celeron processor with 2MB of cache. The CPU boosts up to 2.24 GHz, is compatible with Intel's Virtualization Technology, and supports the AES-NI instructions set. This CPU belongs to the Braswell family, making it one of Bay Trail's successor. The J3160 includes a DirectX 11.2 compatible GPU, a DDR3L controller that supports up to 8 GB of memory, and is manufactured on a 14 nanometer lithography process. With a TDP of only 6 W, it doesn't require active cooling. We should note here that the J3160 has the same TDP as the dual-core N3050, which is used in the AS3102T NAS and seems strange since it has two additional cores.


The CPU is powered by a 2-phase buck regulator. Each of these phases uses a Texas Instruments CSD87588N synchronous buck power block. Think of it as a tiny PSU that can provide up to 90% efficiency with 20A load.

The filtering caps are by Apaq, a Taiwanese manufacturer. We would prefer Japanese caps, but these are polymer caps, which means they will last much longer than electrolytic caps, and Taiwanese cap manufacturers are usually a step above Chinese ones when it comes to quality.


A Texas Instruments SN75DP139 controller provides compatibility with the HDMI 1.4b standard. To put it simply, this IC takes the DisplayPort's input signal and transforms it into an HDMI output signal with support for up to 4K resolutions and 3D content.


The monitoring IC is an ITE IT8728F.


The single Gigabit Ethernet port is controlled by a Broadcom BCM57781 IC.


The NAS server's flash memory is by ADATA.


Here are the CMOS battery and the speaker.


The mainboard is equipped with an IR receiver for a remote control Asustor provides as an option.


This is the front USB 3.0 port.


The GStek GS7612 plays the role of a power switch; however, it is much faster as its typical rise time is 400us, or 0.0004 seconds.


At the solder side of the mainboard is a Texas Instruments TXB0104, which is a voltage-level translator IC. This IC allows low voltage devices like SoCs or other ICs to work with higher voltage rating parts (e.g. relays or sensors) without producing damaging current or signal losses.


The SATA expansion card occupies the mainboard's only PCIe slot and hosts two SATA connectors.


The fan is by YS Tech, and its model number is FD127025HB (70 mm, 12V, 5000 RPM, 40.5 CFM, 41 dBA). The manufacturer states this fan to use double ball-bearings; it also has a lifetime of up to 75,000 hours. The same exact fan is used in the AS3102T.

Software


You will find every piece of compatible software on Asustor's corresponding page. The most essential for setting up the NAS is the Control Center app you have to download and run from a client PC that is on the same network as the NAS.


You will also find all Android apps the NAS supports on Asustor's site. We should note here that many of these are available for iOS devices as well.


The available apps for the NAS are on this page. Although you can download them directly, it is much easier to install them through ADM's Package Center.

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