The number of NAS devices using the new Intel Atom CE5300 series is - slowly but surely - growing. We previously reviewed the Thecus N2520, and today we'll take a closer look at the Asustor AS-302T, a 2-bay NAS from this relative newcomer.
While the Asustor brand is fairly new (founded in 2011), there's enough pedigree there considering it's an affiliate of the Asus group, along with Adata and former Qnap employees. The style of Asus can clearly be see in Asustor's products - both the 6 series and the new 3 series. The high-end 6 series was equipped with a standard Atom processor, but the 3 series uses the new Intel Atom CE5335. It's a 1.6GHz dual-core version of the Berryville Atom processor. Asustor also has the 2 series, using the 1.2GHz version of the 5300 series, called the 5315. That's the one used in the Thecus 2520.
The Intel Atom CE5300 Berryville series is relatively new. Unlike the versatile Atom processors used in the high-end NAS devices, the CE5300 is a System-on-a-Chip (SOC) developed specifically for NAS devices. It shouldn't be seen as an alternative to those expensive Atom processors, but one with slightly less performance that makes it more affordable to create NAS devices, due to its integrated nature. In practice it means Intel has created a staunch competitor for the high-end ARM-based NAS processors from companies such as Marvell. An advantage compared to those ARM processors is that the CE5300 series supports HDMI, which turns a NAS into a media player.
The chassis of the AS-302T is made out of metal and feels pretty sturdy. The same is true for the metal trays that have a plastic inside in order to keep vibrations to a minimum, which will fit both 2.5in and 3.5in disks. You can read the rest of Asustor AS-302T preview on Hardware.info.