Android Central Verdict
Two years after its launch, Asustor's AS6604T continues to be a great overall choice if you're in the market for a 4-bay NAS enclosure with 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. The build quality is among the best you'll find in this category, the NAS has powerful hardware out of the box, and you can easily extend the memory should you wish to do so. There's M.2 SSD caching, an HDMI 2.0 port at the back that lets you plug the NAS into a TV or monitor, and an exhaustive array of software features.
Dual 2.5GbE ports with Link Aggregation
M.2 slots for SSD caching
HDMI port at the back
No tool-less HDD installation
No PCIe slot for upgrades
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We haven't talked about Asustor a whole lot on this site, but that's thankfully changing. The Taiwanese manufacturer has a strong portfolio of NAS enclosures tailored for home and office uses, and its products combine powerful hardware with an attractive feature-set.
The AS6604T serves as a great introduction for the brand. The 4-bay NAS made its debut a few years ago, and continues to be one of the best NAS for home users. So let's take a look at what you're getting here, and whether you should consider the AS6604T in 2022.
Asustor Lockerstor AS6604T: Pricing and availability
Asustor unveiled the Lockerstor AS6604T back in June 2020 for $599, and the NAS continues to be one of the best options in the 4-bay category. NAS enclosures have a long shelf life, and the hardware on offer with the AS6604T holds up just fine in 2022.
The AS6604T is available on Amazon, Newegg, B&H, and other major retailers in the U.S. for $554, and you can get your hands on the NAS in the UK for £540 ($677). Like other Asustor enclosures, the AS6604T comes with a three-year warranty as standard.
Asustor Lockerstor AS6604T: Design and features
The AS6604T is the first Asustor NAS I'm using, and the design is broadly in line with what you get in this category. There are four drive bays at the front, and these easily slide out. You can install 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drives within the enclosure, but it isn't tool-less — you will have to use the bundled screws.
Installation isn't as straightforward for the M.2 slots either; they're located within the chassis and not housed within a removable side panel, so you will need to grab a screwdriver and remove the lid to access the M.2 slots. What I do like is the two-line screen that's located at the front. The screen servers as a dashboard and gives you an overview of the NAS's status, and comes in handy in daily use. You can navigate the options via the buttons on the side, and it is an interesting addition.
Elsewhere, you'll find a USB 3.0 port at the front, and there are status LEDs on each of the drive bays and an overall system LED indicator that sits below the power button. There are two status indicators for the dual Ethernet ports as well. Round the back, you get dual 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual USB 3.0 ports, and there's also an HDMI 2.0a port — very useful for connecting the enclosure directly to a TV or monitor.
There's a large 120mm fan that cools the NAS effectively, and it doesn't get audible even under load. The build quality is among the best you'll find in this category, and the AS6604T has four rubber feet at the bottom to ensure it stays planted on a surface. Asustor hasn't strayed too far from conventional design here, and the result is that the AS6604T easily blends into the background.
Asustor Lockerstor AS6604T: Performance
Like other 4-bay enclosures in this category, the AS6604T is powered by Intel's Gemini Lake-based Celeron J4125, featuring four cores at 2.0GHz that go up to 2.7GHz in turbo. The J4125 is a stalwart for storage enclosures, and I've used several products over the last two years that featured this design.
The AS6604T isn't short of power, and the hardware you're getting here is ideally suited for most home use cases, including media streaming over Plex, backing up photos and other data, and running self-hosted alternatives to mainstream streaming services. The NAS comes with 4GB of DDR4 RAM installed out of the box, and there's another SO-DIMM slot located at the back that lets you double the memory to 8GB should you need it.
There's a native Plex Media Server client available for install, and it takes under five minutes to set it up. I didn't see any issues with Plex streaming to an Android TV and an iPad, and the AS6604T handled 4K files with high bitrate without breaking a sweat. Transcoding these files for playback on client devices is resource-intensive, but in the month that I used the NAS, I didn't have any problems streaming locally-stored media to a slew of devices around the house.
I used four 6TB Seagate IronWolf NAS drives that were sent over with the unit, and I routinely hit up to 220MB/s for file transfers. I have over 50TB of storage in IronWolf drives spread across NAS servers, and having used these for over three years now, I can confidently say that they're my go-to recommendation for NAS hard drives.
The dual 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet ports at the back can be bridged via Link Aggregation, and that comes in handy if you fill up the AS6604T with 2.5-inch SSDs.
Asustor has a 5-port switch that's ideally suited for the AS6604T called the ASW205T. The switch has five 2.5GbE ports, and it is a fanless design that can be mounted on a wall. For what it offers, the ASW205T doesn't take up that much room at all, and while I would have liked to see more ports, it is a great addition if you need a switch to use with the AS6604T to maximize 2.5GbE connectivity.
On that note, the Windows machine I used to test the AS6604T's bandwidth has a 2.5GbE Ethernet port, but if you're still on a Gigabit port, Asustor has a USB-C dongle dubbed the AS-U2.5G2 that facilitates 2.5GbE connectivity. The dongle uses a Realtek RTL8156B controller, and is the easiest way to add 2.5GbE networking to an existing NAS or Windows device. The best part is that you also get a USB-C to USB-A connector in the box, so you can easily plug it into a full-sized USB port.
As much as I would have liked to see the ability to add a 10GbE port to the NAS via a PCIe slot, most users will be more than satisfied with the dual 2.5GbE slots available with the AS6604T. And the same goes for the level of performance on offer — whether it's streaming 4K content over Plex, hosting your own note-taking service, VPN server, or Docker containers.
And with Asustor offering a selection of accessories that enable 2.5GbE networking, it's easy enough to switch your existing devices to take full advantage of the extra bandwidth on offer.
Asustor Lockerstor AS6604T: Software
The AS6604T runs Asustor Data Master (ADM) out of the box, and installation takes under ten minutes. You can set up a name for the server, create a password to log in to the UI, and wait for ADM to install the latest firmware. Once it's booted into the home page, you'll see a list of services that are installed out of the box.
ADM includes its own suite of services for backing up data, hosting your photos on the NAS, file and storage management, user access, and much more. Oft-used utilities like Rsync are installed out of the box, and there's an EZ-Connect option that allows you to access the NAS even when you're outside your home network.
If you're interested in backing up photos from various devices, you'll have to install Photo Gallery on the NAS and use AiFoto on your phone to back up photos automatically. Asustor has excellent options for video and audio streaming, hosting your own mail server, productivity suite, VPN server, or web browsing.
The AS6604T shines when it comes to surveillance as well thanks to the built-in HDMI port — giving you the ability to connect it directly to a TV or monitor — and four free camera licenses. ADM's Surveillance Center gives you exhaustive control over security cameras, and with the ability to work with 40 cameras, it is ideally suited for small businesses.
What I like the most about ADM is that it has an extensive suite of self-hosted services available for install. I configured Airsonic, Calibre-Web, Home Assistant, RetroArch, and Spotify in under ten minutes, and it took me significantly longer than that to get most of these services set up on my DS1520+ last year.
While the UI needs more polish, I definitely like the sheer amount of features on offer here. Finally, Asustor was in news recently for ransomware attacks that targeted its NAS enclosures, and the brand has taken measures to safeguard users. ADM now shows you a security checklist of things you can do do safeguard your enclosure, and the OS itself has been updated to thwart such ransomware attacks in the future.
Asustor Lockerstor AS6604T: The competition
If you like what you see with the AS6604T but absolutely need a PCIe slot, there's good news. Asustor launched Gen2 models in the Lockerstor series recently, and the AS6704T comes with a few enticing updates: you get the Intel N5105 chip, a PCIe slot, USB 3.2 Gen 2x1 ports, and the ability to add up to 16GB of memory. The AS6704T retains the same design and has a similar software feature-set, and if you need the extras, you'll have to pay $609.
TerraMaster's F4-423 is a reliable alternative as well if you're looking for a 4-bay enclosure with 2.5GbE networking. TerraMaster's software efforts are lackluster, but the switch to the TOS 5.0 interface has added a lot of polish and introduced new features to the NAS. And in terms of hardware, you get Intel's N5105, 4GB of RAM out of the box, and the ability to add up to 80TB of storage.
Asustor Lockerstor AS6604T: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if:
- You need a NAS with dual 2.5GbE connectivity
- You're looking for a 4-bay enclosure that's ideal for Plex streaming
- You want well-designed mobile clients and plenty of software features
- You need a NAS for setting up a surveillance camera network
You shouldn't buy this if:
- You want the ability to upgrade to 10GbE
- You're looking for the latest hardware
Asustor nailed the basics with the AS6604T. The NAS has all the connectivity options you want, including two 2.5GbE that can be linked together, and the four drive bays mean you can add up to 64TB of storage in total. There's also the ability to extend storage via external bays, and the Intel J4125 has more than enough power available for demanding tasks.
The 4GB of installed RAM is more than adequate as well, and you get the option to extend it. The NAS excels as a Plex media server and doesn't have any issues with streaming 4K content to a diverse slate of devices, and it holds up just as well for running self-hosted services. ADM has a lot of configurability and a smorgasbord of utilities to install, and what it lacks in polish it more than makes up with a strong feature-set.
Two years after its introduction, the AS6604T continues to be a solid option if you want a 4-bay enclosure with 2.5GbE connectivity.
With four drive bays, powerful hardware, and a wide array of useful software features, the AS6604T has everything you're looking for in a high-end 4-bay NAS enclosure. With dual 2.5GbE networking, this NAS will stay relevant for several years.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.
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