Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T NAS review: A versatile home NAS with high-speed networking and a ton of apps

There are plenty of business-oriented NAS devices on the market, but the Drivestor 4 Pro is designed for a domestic or home office role.

It can act as both a central hub for all your data and a versatile home media server and, at £309, it’s eminently affordable – although you should also budget for hard drives, as there aren’t any provided.

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Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T NAS review: is it safe?

The Asustor brand has had a hard time lately. In February 2022, NAS systems around the world were hit by a ransomware attack called “Deadbolt”, exploiting a vulnerability in Asustor’s remote access feature. Those unlucky enough to be infected discovered that the files stored on their NAS had all been encrypted and could only be recovered by paying a ransom of over £800.

It’s not a good look for Asustor but it’s not the only company to be affected: Qnap appliances have also been targeted by Deadbolt, as it was reported last year that malware was trying to brute force Synology NAS systems. Passwords. Asustor has since released an update that should prevent similar attacks in the future, but for true data protection, a NAS should be backed up like any other storage device. This is the case whether you choose Asustor or any other provider.

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T NAS review: What makes it interesting?

One thing that’s attractive about the Drivestor 4 Pro is its bright red 2.5Gbps Ethernet jack on the back. This offers an easy way to get super-fast access to your data, as long as it’s connected to a compatible router or switch.

The 3304T also features an ARM-based Realtek RTD1295 processor, which can handle 4K decoding at 60fps, so if you want to stream video to a 4K monitor or smart TV, you can be sure the NAS won’t stutter. not.

And because the NAS has four drive bays, you can combine three or four hard drives to create a RAID 5 array, achieving a balance of capacity and data security that two-bay units can’t offer. Additional storage can be added via the unit’s three 5Gbps USB 3 sockets.

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T NAS review: is it easy to install and add drives?

The Drivestor 4 Pro’s glossy front cover is attached by magnets and effortlessly detaches to reveal four sliding drive caddies. These will take any standard SATA hard drive, although I’d recommend using NAS-optimized models that are built to withstand the rigors of the role. Its 3.5-inch drives are held in place by built-in clips, so you can install and swap them without using tools; you can also use the supplied screws to install laptop drives or 2.5 inch SSDs.

You don’t need to fill all four bays right away. You can start with one or two discs, then insert more as you need more space. It only takes a few clicks in the web interface to convert a single disk volume or RAID 1 array to RAID 5.

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T NAS review: is it easy to set up and manage?

The Drivestor 4 Pro is easy enough for everyone to use. A user-friendly web-based setup wizard takes care of downloading the latest firmware, suggesting a default configuration for your installed drives, setting a secure administrative password, and more.

Once everything is up and running, the NAS is managed from ADM’s user-friendly icon-based interface, which again runs in a web browser. Access control settings allow you to create individual accounts for each household member, so they can have their own private space as well as shared folders.

If you want to get more adventurous, there are plenty of other options to explore and settings to play with, including some more commonly found on pro-level models, such as Active Directory integration, SSH and SFTP access and iSCSI support. If you don’t need these features, you can safely ignore them, and Asustor’s online help pages are accessible from a helpful icon right on the main page.

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T NAS review: is it fast?

The Drivestor 4 Pro’s single Ethernet port supports either gigabit Ethernet or a high-speed 2.5 Gbps connection via standard Cat 5E Ethernet cable.

This means you can transfer files at more than twice the speed of a standard Ethernet connection as long as you have a 2.5GbE-capable router or switch and a 2.5GbE Ethernet adapter on the side. customer. Devices that access the NAS via Wi-Fi won’t see much benefit, as the speed of the wireless connection is likely to be the limiting factor.

What speeds can we expect in practice? I loaded the Drivestor 4 Pro with a four-drive RAID 5 array, connected it to an Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 router, and tested file copy performance over wired and wireless connections. Here are the average speeds I’ve seen:

Write speed (MB/sec) Read speed (MB/sec)
2.5 Gbps Ethernet 50.4 193.2
Gigabit-Ethernet 42.7 109.5
Wi-Fi 6 (same room) 24 63.8
Wi-Fi 6 (room next door) 16.5 51.2

As you can see, the Drivestor 4 Pro has a lot of performance to offer. As with all NAS devices, you’ll need an Ethernet connection – ideally multi-gigabit – to get the best speeds, or your transfers will be limited by the speed of your wireless network. Even over Wi-Fi, however, it normally only takes seconds to back up and share large files.

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T NAS review: is it noisy?

When mechanical hard drives read and write data, they make a distinctive clicking sound. It’s not too noisy, but with four of them all working at the same time, there’s no chance of completely silent operation.

Even so, the Drivestor 4 Pro’s casing does a decent job of muffling sound, and the front cover helps reduce it a bit more. Asustor claims a maximum noise level of 32dB in active use; in practice, we found that with the unit located in the living room, the squealing of reading and writing files was audible, but soft enough to live happily. With the TV or radio on, background noise from the NAS was completely unnoticeable.

When there’s no drive activity the only noticeable sound comes from the large rear-facing fan, and at a claimed 19dB it’s very quiet; you would have to be sitting close enough to the device to notice it.

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T NAS review: is it good for backup?

A NAS is a great destination for backups because it’s fast to access, robust, and physically separate from your computer. The Drivestor 4 Pro works with Windows and macOS built-in backup solutions: you can configure it as a repository for Windows File History and simultaneously enable it as a Time Machine destination. For traditional scheduled backups, Asustor offers its own free backup plan software for Windows, or you can use any third-party solution that supports backing up to a local network location.

As we noted above, the NAS itself should also be regularly backed up, and Asustor offers several ways to achieve this. You can configure the unit to regularly replicate your data to a remote location using rsync or FTP, or to an external USB device on a schedule. Optional apps from the App Central Store let you back up to cloud services, including Backblaze, Dropbox, ElephantDrive, Google Drive, IDrive, OneDrive, Box.com, Mega, and others, though backing up to the internet can be slow and slow. depends on how much data you want to store, you may have to pay high monthly fees.

For ad hoc backups, you can also plug an external hard drive into the front USB port and press the button on the front of the NAS unit to immediately copy the contents of a selected folder.

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T NAS review: is it good for the media?

While the Drivestor 4 Pro has a processor designed for media, the unit itself has no video or audio output. That’s not a problem: in the App Central store you’ll find native and regularly updated versions of Emby, Jellyfin, Plex, Twonky and Asustor’s own LooksGood server. These provide plenty of options to browse and stream your video and music files on a browser or smart TV. With the right setup, you can even make your library available over the internet for remote devices.

DLNA and Chromecast support is also available, while the OwnTone app lets you stream media to iTunes and Apple AirPlay devices. If you want to be sure to enjoy your shows without a hitch, you can activate the optional “Media Mode”, which reserves 512MB of the unit’s 2GB of DDR4 RAM as playback cache.

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T NAS review: what else can it do?

The App Central store is not limited to music and movies: it includes more than 140 applications divided into 26 categories. We’ve mentioned the many backup tools on offer, and you’ll also find apps to automatically sync your data with cloud storage services, or run your own private cloud through OwnCloud Server.

You will also find servers that will allow you to use your NAS to host a website, a WordPress blog, an FTP site or even an e-commerce store via the Prestashop platform. Advanced users can deploy third-party applications or develop their own, using one-click-install editions of JRE, PHP, Python, Ruby, and other frameworks. Docker-ce lets you run code in containers, while VirtualBox lets you run entire virtual machines inside the NAS.

In short, almost any job that can be performed on an ordinary computer can be delegated to the highly versatile Drivestor 4 Pro. Remember that with a lightweight processor and 2GB of RAM, it’s unlikely to give you enterprise-class performance.

Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T NAS Review: Should I Buy It?

Based on recent headlines, you might be hesitant to invest in an Asustor device. But sadly, a malware attack can happen to anyone, and if you overlook the Drivestor 4 Pro 3304T, you’ll be missing out on some very nice hardware.

It does everything you could really ask for in a home NAS device, with fast networking, a versatile four-bay design, plenty of backup options and a generous range of apps that mean it can support much more than simple storage tasks.

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