From an aesthetics stand point, the Asustor AS3204T does fit in more with home entertainment than other NAS I have tested in the past. The small box has generated the question “What is that?” from family and friend when they’ve come over. I’ve been using the Asustor AS3204T more of a media center than a network storage device. That doesn’t however mean that it can’t do both duties. It performs well as a media center. During playback, the CPU utilization was <40% when playing videos through KODI. HD videos were played back at their native resolution. During testing I never saw the temperature rise above 55°C and at that I didn’t hear the fan. Even while the AS3204T was transcoding, I didn’t notice any signs of latency or sluggishness.
Priced at $359.00 USD, the Asustor AS3204T is priced in the same range as other NAS devices that also include HDMI out and media center functionality. Asustor’s DSM is easy to set up and manage. DSM makes it quick and easy to get set up and running or you can set up the NAS as you so desire. Management is easy and I appreciate the fact that DSM doesn’t bury the advanced options in menu after menu and puts the advance features on the same menu level as basic configurations. My one gripe about DSM is the App Center. It doesn’t feel as polished as other NAS devices. For example, installing X.org requires the user to manually install the prerequisite software before installing X.org whereas other NAS devices install all the software required to output video over HDMI.
From a hardware standpoint, the internals of the Asustor AS3204T are perfectly adequate. The CPU is an Intel Celeron Quad Core running at 1.60 GHz and 2 GB of ram. The second “complaint” that I have with the AS3204T is the fact that the memory is not user replaceable nor can it be upgraded as it is soldiered onto the motherboard. Performance wise the AS3204T falls right in the middle of the pack. The only two 4+ bay NAS devices that I have on hand to test against fall into a slightly higher category of SOHO/Business use. But considering that, I think the AS3204T performs well. With synthetic testing, the AS3204T falls behind in some of the tests but, synthetic testing isn’t always representative of of perception. With the copy tests, I didn’t notice if the AS3204T was any faster or slower than the two comparison NAS. My perception was they were all about the same.
Overall, I feel the AS3204T performs well enough in a home environment despite some of the gripe and/or complaints that I have of which, there were two. During and after testing usage I experienced no issues with the AS3204T and it worked flawlessly. The price of the AS3204T put it right in the middle of the home market. The HDMI out works well however, it would have been nice if the remote control was included considering that it is billed as a media center with no way to control it. However, for those that have a Logitech Harmony remote, you can control the NAS with it. If you’re looking to dress up your media center with an unobtrusive device, the AS3204T could fit the bill.