Front of the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T.

ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T review: Enthusiast-grade NAS

There’s some serious competition within the two-bay NAS space. I’ve reviewed countless enclosures with said setup and found the Synology DiskStation DS224+ to be about the best NAS you can buy for value. For raw performance, it could well be the new ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T. It’s a NAS enclosure for power users and busy households/small offices.

Should you be seeking something more from a NAS enclosure, it’s recommended to go with an Intel or AMD-powered server. Sure, you can go it alone and build your own DIY NAS, but prebuilt enclosures such as the AS5402T are a great way for those without the knowledge or time to build their own smart connected storage solution.

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Specifications alone aren’t enough to crown an enclosure the best NAS. I will run you through the operating system, software support, features, design, performance, and value to see if the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T is the best NAS for your needs.

ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T

Unlimited power!

ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T
ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T. (Source: ASUSTOR)

The AS5402T from ASUSTOR is the perfect two-bay NAS. A powerful Intel Celeron processor is tied with upgradable RAM, dual 2.5GbE networking, four M.2 SSD slots, and expansion support for up to 14 bays.

CPUIntel Celeron N5105
(4-core, 2.9 GHz)
GPUIntel UHD Graphics
RAM4 GB DDR
(max 16 GB)
Bays2 (SSD/HDD)
Expansion4x M.2 SSD
ASUSTOR AS6004U
Cooling1x 70 mm
Ports2x 2.5 GbE
3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1x HDMI 2.0b
Power draw~22.9 W
Dimensions170 x 114 x 230 mm
Weight1.71 kg
  • Powerful processor
  • Four M.2 SSD slots
  • Dual 2.5GbE networking
  • Expansion support
  • Solid connectivity
  • Pricey

Price and availability

ASUSTOR isn’t known for producing some of the best cheap NAS available and the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T is no exception. This powerful and expensive NAS enclosure costs $370 at MSRP. Considering there’s a two-bay TerraMaster NAS that costs just $170, the AS5402T better be worth the premium price tag.

Design and features

Front view of the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T.
Front view of the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T. (Source: NM)

The ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T is an evolution of the AS5202T and as such looks almost identical. Where ASUSTOR did make notable changes is with the list of specifications. The Intel Celeron J4005 was replaced by the vastly more powerful Intel Celeron N5105 with better clock speeds and bandwidth.

The design of the ASUSTOR AS5402T is equally impressive with its sleek black design.

RAM is doubled at 4GB from the factory and 16GB can be installed, compared to just 8GB with the older AS5202T. Both enclosures support two expansion units for a total of 14 drive bays, but the AS5402T adds four new M.2 SSD slots for caching and storing data. We’re also looking at three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports with speeds of up to 10Gbps.

The design of the ASUSTOR AS5402T is equally impressive with its sleek black design. The front panel is removable to reveal the two hot-swap drive bays. The usual array of front-facing LED indicators is present with a single USB-A port. The two sides of the NAS are bare and the top has some ventilation for the four M.2 SSD slots.

The rear of the NAS houses the remaining two USB ports, the single HDMI output, DC input from the external power supply, and the single 70mm fan. It’s a clean, compact enclosure that will look great in most settings.

Software

Powering the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T is the ADM operating system, a similar solution built on Linux found on competing platforms. It’s easy to use and manage files stored on the NAS enclosure, as well as running apps and services to further expand the NAS capabilities.

Setting up the ASUSTOR AS5402T for the first time is an incredibly easy process.

Setting up the NAS for the first time is an incredibly easy process. Once two hard drives have been installed inside the AS5402T (and I’d recommend fully populating the NAS to enjoy using some form of RAID for data redundancy), it’s as simple as loading up the NAS IP on your favorite browser and following the on-screen install wizard.

Once a primary account has been configured and the OS fully set up, loading the same IP address assigned to the NAS will load up the ADM web UI. This is where you’ll spend most of your time managing everything relating to the AS5402T. The UI resembles that of a desktop OS such as Linux, macOS, or Windows.

Apps can be installed through App Central and highlights include some first-party offerings, as well as popular hits such as Plex Media Server. I’d recommend spending a good hour after first setting up the NAS to browse around the settings panel and other areas of the OS to get your bearings.

Performance

Top view of the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T.
Top view of the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T. (Source: NM)

I’ve tested this mighty Intel Celeron N5105 processor on a variety of enclosures and it’s always been great. The ASUSTOR FLASHSTOR 6 FS6706T uses the same chip for six M.2 SSD slots and while this CPU is slightly underpowered for that many NVMe drives to be running at full speeds, it has ample performance for what the AS5402T is designed for.

Regardless of what you plan on using the NAS for, the AS5402T will be up to the task.

Whether you need compact storage for the home or office, the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T is a worthwhile companion. The best part about this NAS enclosure is the ability to upgrade it. Not only can the RAM be expanded up to 16GB and four M.2 SSDs be installed, but two expansion units can increase the number of drive bays to an impressive 14.

Running Plex Media Server is a solid experience and is one without sluggish performance. It’s possible to transcode multiple 4K streams whilst freeing up some system resources for other tasks. This makes the AS5402T a great pick for a busy home or office where multiple users will connect simultaneously.

The ASUSTOR ADM operating system is excellent and runs smoothly on the available hardware. Regardless of what you plan on using the NAS for, the AS5402T will be up to the task.

Competition

Front of the Synology DiskStation DS224+
Front of the Synology DiskStation DS224+. (Source: NM)

There’s plenty of competition for ASUSTOR and its AS5402T NAS enclosure. One of my favorite two-bay NAS enclosures is the Synology DiskStation DS224+. It has a slightly slower processor than the ASUSTOR AS5402T, has no M.2 slots, and only 1GbE networking. The Synology NAS will cost you less, but it’s limited.

TerraMaster offers considerably potent hardware at a discount and its F2-423 is a powerful server for running a small media server and storing lots of data. I continue to find its operating system slightly more rough than what ASUSTOR offers though TerraMaster NAS is great for quickly installing an aftermarket OS of your choosing.

Is the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T good for Plex?

Plex
Plex. (Source: NM)

The ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T is a good fit for running a Plex Media Server. It may be a two-bay NAS, but ASUSTOR allows all four of its M.2 slots to be used for storing data (or used as a cache). Then there’s the option of adding not one but two six-bay expansion units, totaling 14 drive bays.

For running Plex, the processor is an important consideration in case transcoding will be required for some media. The Intel Celeron N5105 is more than capable of handling multiple 4K transcoding streams, with performance left over for other NAS tasks. ASUSTOR’s ADM operating system allows you to be up and running in moments.

Should you buy the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T?

ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T and its packaging.
ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T and its packaging. (Source: NM)

I recommend buying the ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T if you’re after a powerful two-bay NAS enclosure with some of the best upgrade options on the market. The Intel Celeron chip has ample performance for the four M.2 SSD slots, dual 2.5GbE network connections, and 16GB of DDR4 RAM support.

Two drive bays would typically restrict how much can be stored on a NAS enclosure and the same goes for the AS5402T. ASUSTOR attempted to work around this by allowing the server to be connected to up to two six-bay expansion units. The ASUSTOR AS6004U can be purchased down the line should you eventually run out of space.

ASUSTOR’s ADM operating system is easy to use. It’s capable enough for storing data and backups, running various apps and services, and shouldn’t lose any problems if this happens to be your first NAS enclosure. It’s more on the expensive side of all the available two-bay NAS servers, but it’s worth the asking price if you can make the most of the specs.

ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T

ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T
ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 2 Gen2 AS5402T. (Source: ASUSTOR)

There’s nothing to complain about with the ASUSTOR AS5402T other than the price. Paying shy of $400 is a tall order for a two-bay NAS and puts this enclosure out of reach for many.

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