The ASUSTOR AS6704T (full name Lockerstor 4 Gen2) is a relatively new NAS. It has many advantages like its Quad Core Intel N5105 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 2 2.5 Gb/s network ports, 4 NVMe slots, 4 HDD and SSD bays. In addition, it is possible to add a 10 Gb/s network card (optional). What is missing from the NAS? Is its €700 price justified? Does it really work? Can I invest in this product? We will try to answer all these questions…
ASUSTOR AS6704T Review
Released earlier this year, the AS6704T has plenty of arguments for those who want a fast all-round NAS. Its ability to evolve is an advantage, but it does have some limits. Without further ado, let’s discover this product together…
We start with the contents of the box, there are:
- The sin AS6704T ;
- 1 RJ45 Cat.5e network cable;
- Mounting screws for 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard drives;
- The external power supply and its cable;
- A grommet to fix on the back;
- The quick start guide.
You may be surprised to only have one network cable, while the manufacturer usually provides 2 on this type of product.
Building the AS6704T
The AS6704T benefits from an all-metal construction, as is the case with most of their cases. On the scale, it shows 2.94 kg empty. Its dimensions are as follows: 185.5 x 170 x 230 mm (H x W x D). It is rectangular in shape and black in color. Nothing new could be said… except that in the upper part, the manufacturer has made several ventilation holes. It must be said that just below, you can insert NVMe SSD. As a reminder, it’s important that these get too hot, then performance can drop drastically.
At the front, the NAS has 4 slots for installing 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch hard drives (or SSDs). At the top is a 2-line LCD display and its control keys on the right. Finally on the left we find at the top the on/off button, the disk activity indicator, below the diodes for the network and finally a USB 3.0 port with the fast copy button.
In the rear part, the 12 cm fan stands out. We assure you that it is quite quiet. On the right, from top to bottom, are two 2.5GbE network ports, a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI 2.0b audio and video output, and finally the location of the power cable. If we appreciate the evolution of HDMI, we are sorry that the box has only one USB port on the back.
The NAS is built around a Quad Core Intel Celeron N5105 processor clocked at 2.0 GHz (turbo up to 2.90 GHz) and supports 4 GB of DDR4 RAM, expandable up to 16 GB The second RAM slot is accessible by opening the lid. It’s easy if you want to go from the default 4GB to 8GB. Wait about 2 minutes.
However, if you want to go to 16 GB, you will have to completely disassemble the NAS and remove the motherboard. This manipulation is reserved for experienced users. Wait about 45 minutes to dismount and remount the NAS (link to official video).
Still on the inside, the AS6704T offers 4 NVMe slots to accommodate SSDs for caching or storage. In fact, Asustor offers this possibility with the latest version of its internal ADM software. If you are looking for the dedicated PCIe slot for 10Gb/s network card, there is none. In fact, you need to remove the card from the NVMe slots in order to add the card (sold separately) later. It’s the NVMe SSDs or the 10 Gb/s network card… you won’t be able to take advantage of both simultaneously.
Installation of hard drives and SSDs
With the 4 accessible bays on the front, you can install hard drives and SSDs. Accepted formats are 2.5 and 3.5 inches. Unlike the competition and some more conventional models, here you will have to play with the screwdriver to install hard drives. For NVMe SSDs, you got it, you will have to open the NAS by removing the 3 screws on the back.
ADM and its applications
Asustor NAS works with the ADM (ASUSTOR Data Master) system. It is a suite consisting of an operating system optimized for network storage, various applications, and a management interface. ADM is one of the easy systems to learn. The interface is purified, with many parameters. Over the years, ADM has gotten better. Its modular system allows you to have a complete server. However, some may criticize it for still lagging behind the two industry giants (Synology and QNAP). Asustor takes his time, steps carefully and claims him.
The latest major version, AMD 4.1, was released in July 2022. As with our smartphones, the NAS has an application store (App Central). The latter includes a set of free packages (several hundred) that allow you to add features to your server: antivirus, blog, home automation, multimedia, backup, virtualization, etc.
Now let’s talk about the raw performance of the NAS. First, we will discuss transfers over the network. Then we will focus on the processor (and its RAM memory) and its capabilities: transcoding, virtualization, data encryption…
First of all, we offer you a small reminder of our testing protocol used for more than 10 years. The latter provides reliable and comparable data with our other NAS tests. We use four different measurement applications (2 on macOS and 2 on Windows). Then, file transfers of different sizes are made in both directions (NAS to Computer and Computer to NAS). We have files of:
- Small size : 100 files weighing from 500 KB to 12 MB (MP3, Photo, Office Document);
- Medium size : 30 files from 12 to 350 MB (DivX, RAW image, Zip);
- bulky : 10 files with a size between 4 and 10 GB (MKV, ISO).
After this battery of tests, we calculate an average of the transfers and present it to you in graphical form (expressed in Mega-Bytes per second). The higher the number, the faster the NAS. The NAS runs under ADM 4.1. A single 2.5 Gbit/s RJ45 connector was used for this test. First, we installed 2 WD Red SN700 NVMe SSDs in RAID 0 for the best NAS speeds.
We were a bit disappointed. Although we managed to reach just over 283 MB/s in reading and almost 224 MB/s in writing, we would have liked to reach the maximum offered by 2.5 Gb/s (that is, 312.5 MB/s), especially with NVMe. We did not exceed 299 MB/s in the unit test. While I’m still being very honest, we’ve already managed to do better with hard drives in a competitor’s NAS and with an older architecture.
In RAID 5 with 3 Seagate IronWolf SSDs, the ASUSTOR AS6704T also offers respectable performance. Compared to NVMe, it’s very similar. In view of the price of NVMe SSDs, one may wonder about the choice of the latter.
With data encryption, we curiously lose some MB/s when reading large files. If this is common in writing, it is rarer in reading. We had already seen this with the AS3302T Pro. In writing, the processor manages to keep the bar and is close to 175 MB/s… hats off.
Finally, we took 3 hard drives configured in RAID 5 and redid our tests. The results are pretty good here too. We are also close to 3 SATA SSDs in RAID 5 (see above).
AS6704T Overall Performance
The ASUSTOR AS6704T has many advantages, including the ability to install other applications. He is comfortable in transfers, but also in the use of Docker containers, virtual machines with VirtualBox, or even for the multimedia part with LooksGood, Plex, Jellyfin, etc. Thanks to its processor, it will be very easy to transcode one or more videos simultaneously thanks to hardware acceleration. You will have no problem with all video formats, even the most exotic ones. The interface is smooth, responsive, and the NAS responds in a fraction of a second. The N5105 processor is a wise choice from the manufacturer.
Intel Celeron N5095 vs. N5105 vs. J4125
Energy consumption and noise pollution
The NAS is quite discreet and its fan is efficient without being noisy. In terms of power consumption, with 2 NVMe SSDs and 3 HDDs installed inside, the NAS shows 28 W in normal use and can go up to 39 W in heavy use (transfer with data encryption and transcoding).
Upgrade to 2.5 Gbit/s
If you haven’t already made the switch to Multi-Gig on your computer, now is the time. We recommend the Asustor AS-U2.5G2 adapter (USB-C to RJ45 network output at 2.5 Gbit/s). It is easily found for less than €50. To this we will have to add a 2.5 Gbit/s or higher switch, such as the Asustor ASW205T… Finally, for the cables, it is not necessary to change them. You just have to make sure it’s Cat.5e.
Asustor gives us a good composition here. We appreciate the versatility of this NAS and its ability to evolve to meet user needs. The choice of internal architecture is an important criteria and the AS6704T is a good product. However, the manufacturer made some strange decisions. Asustor had not accustomed us to the limits of hardware. If we appreciate the possibility of using NVMe SSDs for caching and storage, unfortunately we will have to get rid of them if we want to add a 10 Gb/s network card. Also, if the user wants to take advantage of the 16 GB of RAM, the NAS will have to be completely disassembled, including the motherboard. It is a risky choice, the operation is delicate and can be irreversible. Finally, the model only has a USB 3.0 port on the back…a surprising choice for a business-oriented NAS. Finally, the NAS appears to be blocking network speeds. In fact, even with 2 NVMe SSDs in RAID 0, it is impossible to reach 300 MB/s or even 312 MB/s. Is it a processor limitation, an implementation issue, or a PCIe port management issue? We don’t have the answer.
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