Network-attached storage is playing a more important role in the modern world as more people work remotely and rely on connected storage for delivering files. It’s not required that one spends a small fortune on a NAS either and the budget-friendly segment is incredibly competitive.
Synology, ASUSTOR, TerraMaster, QNAP, and other brands all have affordable NAS enclosures available and today we’re going to be looking at the ASUSTOR DRIVESTOR 4 Pro AS3304T. This is one of the more recent affordable four-bay NAS from ASUSTOR and it promises much on the specs sheet.
While this is a NAS that focuses on cutting a few corners to bring down the price, ASUSTOR managed to keep 2.5Gb networking, four drive bays, a quad-core Realtek RTD1296 ARM processor, stylish design, and a brilliant OS on the product brief. The end result should be something rather special. Let’s see if this has what it takes to become one of the best NAS.
ASUSTOR DRIVESTOR 4 Pro (AS3304T)
The ASUSTOR DRIVESTOR 4 Pro AS3304T is an excellent four-bay NAS enclosure with an ARM processor, 2.5Gb networking, and a feature-rich OS.
- Four drive bays
- Great value
- 2.5Gb LAN
- Excellent OS
- Slightly limiting ARM CPU
- No Plex transcoding
- RAM not upgradeable
ASUSTOR AS3304T: Price, specs, and availability
The ASUSTOR DRIVESTOR 4 Pro AS3304T launched with a price tag of $330. It’s a budget-friendly NAS and one that should be taken as such. The price is in line with other enclosures from brands with similar specifications. The ARM processor may not be terribly powerful, but it’s good enough for file storage.
If you’re wanting an Intel processor, you can expect to pay an additional $100. The same goes for upgradable RAM. Like any diskless NAS enclosure out there, you’re going to need to buy the best NAS drives to populate the four bays. What really shines with the ASUSTOR AS3304T is the 2.5Gb networking support.
|Drive bays||4x (SSD/HDD)|
|Expansion||Drives: 2x AS6004U|
|Ports||1x 2.5Gb LAN|
3x USB 3.2 Gen 1
|Dimensions||170mm x 174mm x 230mm|
Then there’s the support for up to 16 additional bays with expansion units. ASUSTOR recommends using the AS6004U on its website for the DRIVESTOR Pro 4 AS3304T. 2GB of DDR4 RAM cannot be upgradeable and as such, you won’t be able to run demanding apps on this NAS without sluggish performance.
ASUSTOR AS3304T: Design and features
The design of the ASUSTOR DRIVESTOR 4 Pro AS3304T shares similarities to other ASUSTOR enclosures, but there’s a front panel that hides the drive bays and helps shield them from dust ever-so-slightly. Next to this gloss black panel is a vertical array of status LED indicators, as well as a power button and USB port.
The front panel also helps the NAS integrate with other appliances in a room, something some may struggle with four visible drive bays. The two side panels are bare, as well as the top. The rear of the ASUSTOR NAS houses two additional USB-A ports, DC input, and a single 2.5Gb LAN port.
Each of the four drive trays can be extracted without the requirement of any tools. While it’s possible to use just any 3.5-inch drive, we’d always recommend installing the best NAS drives you can afford as they’re designed for continuous use and for such deployments. 2.5-inch drives can also be installed using four screws each.
There’s no need to remove the outer shell and gain access to the internals of the ASUSTOR AS3304T as the RAM cannot be upgraded. This is a limitation of the Realtek RTD1296 processor. As is the case with any NAS enclosure, it’s not required for all drive bays to be populated. You can start with one — preferably two in RAID — and add more later.
ASUSTOR AS3304T: Performance
The Realtek RTD1296 is a solid processor for NAS designed to hold data. You won’t be streaming 4K content and transcoding it on the fly, nor will you be able to fire up intensive applications and services that require the performance of an Intel or AMD CPU. So long as you keep expectations in check, it’s a very capable little processor.
Testing the ASUSTOR AS3304T, we connected the NAS to our 10Gb capable network to eliminate network bottlenecking with our test PC. We managed to achieve a sequential score of 254MB/s and 201MB/s for reading and writing data through SMB, respectively. This shows how high the NAS is capable of transferring data across the network.
The selling point with this NAS enclosure is the 2.5Gb network connection and it shines here with the Realtek processor being able to keep up with data requests. Running the latest release of ASUSTOR’s ADM 4.0 OS is also a joy. It’s among the best operating systems out there for pre-assembled NAS.
ASUSTOR AS3304T: Competition
Like other home NAS segments, there’s plenty of competition for the four-bay ASUSTOR DRIVESTOR 4 Pro AS3304T, including the TerraMaster F4-210. That NAS has the exact same processor, RAM, drive bay count, and similar price. Whereas ASUSTOR has the advantage of a faster 2.5Gb LAN port, ADM OS, and expansion support.
When looking for the best cheap NAS with four drive bays, it will usually come down to ports and other features that separate such enclosures.TerraMaster usually undercuts the competition with similar specifications, but there are times when paying a little more than desired can result in a better experience.
ASUSTOR AS3304T: Should you buy it?
Who should buy this?
- If you want a four-bay NAS with expansion support
- If you want a capable yet affordable NAS
- If you need a NAS for backups or storing files
- If you don’t want to run intensive apps
Who shouldn’t buy this?
- If you need an Intel CPU
- If you want to transcode 4K media
- If you don’t have a network to handle 2.5Gb+ connections
- If you plan to use M.2 SSDs
So long as you don’t expect too much from a NAS like the ASUSTOR DRIVESTOR 4 AS3304T, you’re going to have a great time. It’s a budget-friendly NAS with four drive bays and 2.5Gb networking. It’s perfectly positioned for a home NAS to store backups and files. It sucks little power at the wall and doesn’t produce much noise.
Because this is a more affordable NAS, ASUSTOR had to cut a few corners, namely the processor. It’s not an Intel or AMD chip, but an ARM processor. It’s not terrible, but you won’t be able to transcode 4K media or run intensive apps and services on the enclosure. Then there’s the RAM that cannot be expanded from 2GB of DDR4.
But for installing up to 16 drives and storing files, this is one excellent storage hub. At $330, ASUSTOR did a great job with the DRIVESTOR 4 (AS3304T).
ASUSTOR DRIVESTOR 4 Pro AS3304T
With an ARM processor, 2GB of DDR4 RAM, and four drive bays, the ASUSTOR DRIVESTOR 4 Pro AS3304T is a brilliant affordable NAS that can punch a little above its weight.