The Asus Home Server TS mini is a Windows-based network-attached storage device that includes 1TB of storage. Although it doesn't provide the flexibility of do-it-yourself NAS devices, its performance results and online storage platform certainly justify its price.
Asus Home Server TS mini: Enclosure
The Asus Home Server TS mini is quite boxy and not very attractive, but it's small enough to fit into a few nooks and crannies. Unlike most NAS devices, this is an enclosed server and doesn't have any drive bays. It does, however, have two internal drive slots, allowing tech savvy users to pry open the case to install a second 3.5in hard drive. You won't be able to remove the primary volume; however as this holds the NAS device's operating system.
ASUS' NAS device lacks any connectivity or buttons on the front. There's a power button on top, and all connectivity is relegated to the back of the unit, including the six USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports and a single Gigabit Ethernet port. You can plug any NTFS-formatted external hard drive into the Asus Home Server TS mini NAS device and either add to the total storage pool using Windows Home Server's Drive Extender, or backup, synchronise and manage/delete files using ASUS' Xtor Manager add-in.
Like the QNAP TS-210 Turbo, the Asus Home Server TS mini is powered by an Intel Atom processor clocked at 1.66GHz. It also packs 1GB of DDR2 memory, which is certainly enough to maintain and serve the 1TB storage capacity between several users.
Asus Home Server TS mini: Software
The Asus Home Server TS mini runs the Windows Home Server operating system which, as we found with HP's EX490 MediaSmart Server, can have both its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, you'll have to maintain and administer the NAS device through a remote console rather than a web-based interface, which in our tests can make for slow and painful configuration experience.
Windows Home Server's benefits largely lie in its simplicity and ease of use. Rather than mucking around with RAID configurations and volume letters, users can simply include any additional internal and external hard drives into the Asus Home Server TS mini NAS device's storage pool. The aforementioned Drive Extender feature is handy for expanding storage, and it even takes redundancy into account, although it does limit the storage volume's overall performance.
Enabling media features like the TwonkyMedia-powered UPnP server and Windows Media Centre integration are also quite easy and in the case of the latter, it simply demands some additional software. The console's interface also makes it easy to configure monitored media folders as well as the TwonkyMedia server, without accessing the rather unkempt Web ser interface.
The Asus Home Server TS mini is tightly integrated with Windows XP, Vista and 7, allowing you to automatically setup and configure backups on any computer installed with the Windows Home Server Connector. HP's NAS device added reasonable support for Macs too, with a similarly capable remote console and Time Machine backups, but ASUS' offering shows no sign of either Linux or Mac support.
Asus Home Server TS mini: ASUS Web Storage
ASUS provides TS mini Home Server users with 500GB of online storage.
ASUS adds to the Windows Home Server OS through enhanced external and web-based storage. The Xtor Manager add-in allows you to see individual external drives, with the ability to backup or synchronise internal storage with the hard drives. The ASUS WebStorage add-in provides access to the same online storage platform found on many of the company's Eee PC netbooks. It's a particularly impressive addition, giving users 500GB of storage for backups and synchronisation.
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