The Master Box – Asustor AS5304T NAS

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How’s it going everybody, now not all of use are Linus tech tips with the knowledge to build a massive 1 Petabyte server to store all of our files, even though that would be cool. But now for most of use we want things to be quick and easy but not have any of the drawbacks. 

Well that’s where you get a NAS like the Asustor AS5304T which is a simple 4 drive, personal Cloud storage server that you can use for pretty much anything. You can store all your files like I do with my past projects and access them anywhere in the world. You can set it up as a surveillance storage array, a home media center and especially for gamers there are a bunch of features that you might like. So let’s go over all the specs if the AS5304T and then check out all the great features this guy will give you because there are honestly A TON you can do with this little master box.

Starting with the design you get a reasonably small square box that weighs around 2.2kgs without any harddrives inside. The body is made out of plastic but has a metal frame on the inside to keep your internals secure and a magnetic front cover to hide the drives.

On the front you get 4 super easy tool-less and hot swappable harddrive drive bays that can handle both 2.5” and 3.5” drives. The front also has multiple to show the status of the NAS, the 4 drives and then the status of the front USB 3.2 Gen 1 type A port that can be used for external storage drives.

Moving to the back you get dual 2.5Gigabit per second ethernet ports, which supports link aggregation on certain hardware. Link aggregation is where you use both the ethernet ports and connect it to your router or switch to get double the available bandwidth if your network is setup right. It’s just a shame my router and switch is only gigabyte so might be time for an upgrade. Also at the back you get another 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports,  the DC In 12V power, a kensington lock and finally a HDMI 2.0a port for direct output. The display out allows you to directly connect the NAS to your home theater and watch 10bit 4K media without any issues.

This is thanks to the 1.5Ghz (boosts to 2.5ghz) Quad Core Intel Celeron J4105 CPU that can handle all the decoding work from HVEC h.265 media. Along with that you get 4GB of DDR4 memory that can be taken up to 8GBs with the 2x SODIMM slots if you are a heavy user.

Also an important part is power consumption being that the NAS will be running most likely the entire day or even 24/7. This of course also depends on how many drives you have installed but for 2 drives that I had installed at the time used around 37wats from the wall.

You also get a single 120mm fans at the back which I honestly couldn’t hear from where I was sitting. However there are some other fan options like quiet mode, which will lower the noise but exchange increase temps somewhat.

Now then for the drives you again get support for 4 drives and a max of 16TBs per drive for a max of 64TBs depending on your RAID setup or if you get an expansion unit to 256 TB. As for the supported RAID Types, here is a list of all of them so you should have a perfect. Also for the internal drives the supported file format is only EXT4 and BTRFS. For external drives it supports all the most common file systems.

So then after turning the NAS on, installing the OS and setting up your RAID setup which you can do manually or with just a few clicks. You can log into the NAS and get this very simple and easy understandable interface.

Now then as for all the stuff you can do  and there is honestly so many different things you can set the NAS up for, so let’s go over a bunch of them. Firstly you can do the basics like creating different users each with their own set of access parameters to settings and files, which is perfect for businesses. 

Of Course because this is a personal cloud device you are able to access all your files anywhere in the world with the EZConnect feature that can be used with downloadable software or right through your web browser. Not only that you can use it with your smartphone or tablet and get access to your files through that as well. This is honestly my favorite feature, especially with me traveling more now. Being able to access my files anywhere is awesome. Transfer speeds are going to be determined by your internet connection both your upload speed from the NAS and download speed from the other device. Along with that you can connect with other cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox and Onedrive to automatically sync between them for even more sequality. 

Another option which might be popular is to use your NAS as a central surveillance storage array. You hook it up to  your surveillance network to backup all the footage and then be able to view it from anywhere. Which again is especially useful for business. 

But now if you are more into media you can also setup the NAS as a Plex server to watch all your media, I haven’t really used Plex myself but if you do then here you go. Along with that you can have your own itunes server to access all your music and then you have the Photo Gallery to create network photo albums that you can share with others.

But not only that with the App Center you can download many more applications to use the NAS for multiple other use cases. Like running your email server, your wordpress or other platform website or online shop. You can run virtual machines with Virtualbox or with other apps and  setup your own VPN. If you are into home automation you can use Home Assistant or others to set that up.

If you are into Minecraft you can even run a dedicated minecraft server from the NAS which is nice. I haven’t tried it out yet but might start my own WeDoTech minecraft server. Along with that there are multiple game emulators you can download to play old Gameboy, NES, Playstation those type of older console games if you wanted to. 

You can use the the NAS as a dedicated downloading unit where you can download videos from multiple websites like Youtube and Twitch. 

Now you can also do some naughty stuff like directly downloading torrents to the NAS, there are apps to download games apparently and then also apps to watch movies and series online. Im not endorsing this but there are apps for that.

Then finally you have the Asustor Portal that works through the HDMI port. So when connecting a monitor you get this android style interface with some of the apps you download and can then watch everything through your TV. You can buy a remove, use the Airomote mobile app or just connect a keyboard and mouse to control everything. I did find it to be a bit sluggish but it did work and was able to watch some media on other monitor.

So those are just some of the use cases for the AS5304T. Honestly there are more and i’m sure you can even write your own to do even more things with the NAS but that’s mostly going to be it for use normal guys.

So then that is pretty much it for my review of the Asustor AS5304T. Again some of the use cases I did not really go into because thats not what im using mine for but you do have a bunch of different options. For me again im going to use it as a backup server for my youtube videos because I keep 90% of all my files and then also for a media server. The feature that I like the most for this NAS system is that personal cloud feature where you can access the drive from anywhere. Thats really useful for editing not only for me when im away but also again for a possible off site editor later on.

Going to try it  for a while more and see if it is going to replace my synology ds418play which is very simpular but this one does have better specs and feels like it has a bit more features.

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