by Greg King on April 14, 2017 in Networking, Storage
Not everyone wants a huge collection of discs for movies, and not all content is available to stream. Storing content locally is often the best bet, but HDDs fill up quickly. The solution? If you have the budget, a NAS like ASUSTOR’s AS6208T doesn’t hurt, with its 8 bays (for up to 80TB!), four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and robust app support. Let’s check it out.
The methods and tools that we’ve used over the years have not always been consistent. While NASPT has been a part of our suite for quite some time, here and there we include different tools and tests that we feel might help show off the device we have on the bench at that time.
At the end of the day, I personally think that most NAS boxes we look at are destined for homes, not offices. That being said, the AS6208T requires additional testing above and beyond what NASPT offers. As our testing methodology evolves, we’d like to hear from you on what you would like to see in future tests.
A few years ago, Intel created its own benchmarking tool for NAS devices called NASPT. Short for NAS Performance Toolkit, NASPT is, to quote Intel, “a file system exerciser and analysis tool designed to enable direct measurement of home network attached storage (NAS) performance.” Essentially what the company did was create a tool that mimics day-to-day workloads, such as video playback, content creation and office productivity.
By creating this tool, Intel has made it extremely easy on those of us tasked with benchmarking NAS devices. You install NASPT on a host machine (their recommended specs are 32-bit XP SP2 and 2GB of RAM), map a drive on that host that points to the NAS and decide which tests you want to run. These are the specs that I used when building out our test machine. It is admittedly getting old, but for NASPT, it serves us well in that capacity.
- Dell Optiplex 755
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6550
- 2GB DDR2 RAM
- 320GB Seagate 7200K
- Integrated Video
- Intel PRO/1000 PT Dual Port NIC
Our test bed is a simple, everyday machine. It’s a capable PC and one that worked perfectly for the NASPT test. While getting a bit long in the tooth, we continue to use it to keep our results consistent and comparable.
Our test network is a flat network consisting of discrete network cards and our switch is a NETGEAR ProSAFE GS724T.
For our iSCSI and Robocopy tests, a Windows 10 machine is used. Its specs are:
- Intel Core i5-2500K
- Gigabyte Motherboard
- 4GB DDR3
- 640GB WD Black 7200K
- Integrated Video
- Intel Pro/1000 PT Dual Port NIC
It should be mentioned that only RAID5 was used in the testing of the AS6208T. This is the RAID mode most likely to be used with any four bay NAS and as a result, that is what was used.
|ASUSTOR AS6208T – Intel NASPT|
|2x HD Playback||110.8|
|4x HD Playback||112.8|
|HD Video & Record||110.1|
|HD Playback and Record||101.6|
|File Copy to NAS||116.3|
|File Copy from NAS||107.7|
|Directory Copy to NAS||14.2|
|Directory Copy from NAS||21.9|
|ASUSTOR AS6208T – CrystalDiskMark|
|RND 4KB Q32||12.1||54.62|
|ASUSTOR AS6208T Transfer Tests|
ASUSTOR has quickly made a name for itself in the NAS world. With products that run the full range of the NAS market, the six-year-old company had a lot of ground to make up, and has managed to do so in a short amount of time.
With any NAS, performance is paramount, but for most users who connect their NAS to their network with a single Gigabit connection, the true performance of a device like the AS6208T remains hidden behind the bottleneck of the network itself. What ASUSTOR and other companies have done to add value to their products, has been to grow their add-on applications.
ASUSTOR’s App Central is a great example of a company not only dedicating its own resources into app development, but also fostering an environment that allows third party developers to work within and show off their ideas in ways to best leverage the power of today’s NAS boxes. We’ve seen an explosion of applications available for installation on NAS boxes. Part of that can be attributed to manufacturers adopting x86 processors, but also simply because it makes sense.
The best part of it all is that it’s free. Once you buy your NAS, you’re in that company’s walled garden and all the apps for that device are free. I’ve yet to see a paid app on any NAS platform. There aren’t many other platforms that can say that.
I also would like to once again applaud ASUSTOR for its inclusion of HDMI into its devices. More and more media is consumed digitally. As devices get smarter and more and more begin to talk with one another, a NAS offers storage and the ability to consume your media on the largest screen in your home.
With all that out of the way, let’s talk specifically about the AS6208T. Performance was superb. Its speeds were the fastest we’ve seen in a NAS and its eight drive bays offers a lot of potential storage for those that can afford use it. Its four Gigabit NICs offer a few different ways to use the NAS based on environments and needs and the App Central is full of useful and entertaining apps (emulation anyone?).
Speaking of apps, a common theme amongst NAS companies is surveillance. When all that is needed is a dumb box for storage, a NAS fits that build. But, what if that same box can be the brains behind your security setup? ASUSTOR’s solution for IP based cameras is very good. We tested with two different IP based cameras (we’ll see more of them in the coming weeks) and the interface is intuitive and stable.
All that said, who is the AS6208T for? At around $850 USD at the time of writing, it’s not cheap, but it’s not terribly expensive for what it is. Most users can happily get along with a two or four bay NAS, but for those that can’t, the AS6208T is a pretty sweet choice. With its multimedia functionality, its storage capacity and very robust app store (over 200 apps), the AS6208T would be perfect in an office or a home. It’s because of all this that the AS6208T wins an Editor’s Choice Award.
- High performance.
- Quiet when fans are set to auto.
- Two expandable RAM slots.
- Built-in two line LCD screen.
- Multimedia Focuses.
- Build-in IR receiver.
- Hardware transcoding.
- Price is high, but not unfair.
- ADM needs some minor tweaks, like resizable windows.
ASUSTOR AS6208T 8-bay NAS