ASUSTOR AS-202TE Review (Page 3 of 8)

Page 3 - A Closer Look - Hardware (Internal)

There is no wasted room inside the ASUSTOR AS-202TE network attached storage. If you have seen our past QNAP NAS reviews before, you will notice the ASUSTOR works on pretty much the same internal design. We can see the front panel connector interface up front, two 3.5" drive bays occupying majority of the area, as well as the 70mm fan at the back. A few centimeters of clearance room can be seen between the rear fan and the two hard drive bays. This allows some space between components to reduce heat congestion. Its well placed rear exhaust fan can then easily take out the warm air, and allow cooler air to flow over the mounted hard drives with minimal turbulence noise. A small passive heatsink is used to keep the processor running cool. The motherboard is mounted with its components facing inwards to take advantage of the airflow generated by the sole rear fan as well. Generally speaking, it is pretty packed inside the ASUSTOR AS-202TE, but everything is neatly placed and cabled to maximize cooling efficiency.

The entire back of the motherboard covered by a piece of black plastic held on by four screws and some glue, just in case anything makes contact with the shell and short circuits. Meanwhile, the warranty seal as aforementioned only prevents you from removing the rear metal panel, which used to lock the motherboard in place. This means while the warranty seal does not prevent you from opening the shell, it does prevent you from doing funny things to the internal hardware. The CR2032 battery can be easily replaced without removing the motherboard. Since there are no user upgradeable components inside, I think ASUSTOR is quite reasonable in this regard.

The power supply is an external brick manufactured by Delta Electronics. The DPS-60PBA is a 12V power supply specified for up to 5A of current. This means it can deliver a maximum of 60W. As far as efficiency is concerned, it is "V" rated. To skip over all the nitty gritty compliance details of this technical specification, the basic gist of it is it has to be at least 87% efficient in given conditions.

Thankfully, unlike the QNAP TS-470 I have reviewed a few months ago, the AS-202TE is actually pretty straightforward to disassemble. There were only four screws that holds the ASUSTOR NAS' motherboard to the chassis; plus whatever necessary to remove the rear metal panel. Ten minutes later, with everything out of the way, the motherboard is now free from the system. Upon closer inspection, we can see only solid state capacitors by CapXon are used. Behind the small aluminum heatsink is an Intel Atom CE5315 Evansport 1.8GHz system on a chip. The CE5315 is similar to the SoC used in the Thecus N2560, and features quite a bit of multimedia features. This includes hardware AVS, DivX, H.264, MPEG2, MPEG4, and VC1 video decoding, as well as JPEG image decoding. Security wise, it natively supports 3DES, AES, C2/CSA, RSA, and SHA encryption algorithms. Onboard controllers include two SATA 3Gb/s ports, three USB 3.0 ports, PCI Express 2.0 interface, Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 1.4a.

Four Samsung K4B2G1646E-BCK0 256MB DDR3 ICs are embedded on the motherboard for a total of 1GB of RAM in dual channel mode. The rear HDMI port is powered by an NXP IP4776CZ38 controller. Meanwhile, USB 3.0 is provided by an Etrontech EJ188H chip.

As you can see in our photo above, the CR2032 battery is installed perpendicular to the motherboard. This means it can easily replaced should the unlikely event occur, and you can do so without voiding your NAS' warranty.

Flipping the motherboard around, and we see more integrated circuits surface mounted at the back. The ones of interest include a Realtek RTL8211E Gigabit network controller, along with a Spansion FL128SAIF00 16MB NOR flash chip. I would have much preferred an Intel network controller, as it provides much better performance than Realtek units from my experience. The flash chip is used to store a bare basic part of its firmware to allow the AS-202TE to start before the full operating system is loaded onto the hard drive. Generally speaking, everything is soldered on directly; ASUSTOR does not intend the user to upgrade anything directly related to the system.

Lastly, we have the SATA backplane, and the rear 70mm fan. The SATA backplane is labeled AS-302T, which, as its silkscreen suggest, is the same one used in the ASUSTOR AS-302T network attached storage. Both of them are SATA 3Gb/s ports supplied natively by the Intel Atom CE5315 system on a chip. On the right, the Y.S. Tech FD127025HB is a 70mm dual ball bearing fan specified at 0.30A for a maximum of speed of 5000 rpm. The rated airflow is 40.5 CFM and 7.2 mm-H2O static pressure at 41.0 dB of noise.

Page Index
1. Introduction and Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware (External)
3. A Closer Look - Hardware (Internal)
4. Configuration and User Interface, Part I
5. Configuration and User Interface, Part II
6. Configuration and User Interface, Part III
7. Performance and Power Consumption
8. Final Thoughts and Conclusion