Asus TS Mini Windows Home Server (1TB) Review

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At KitGuru we love our networking and spend a lot of time with gigabit switches and ensuring our home configurations run as fast as possible, both over wired and wireless. We have reviewed several NAS systems lately from makers such as Buffalo and Synology and today we are going to look at a Windows Home Server unit from Asus.

Many households have a network now, with parents having a computer as a media center in the living room with the kids doing their homework with network connections from their bedrooms. Network Assisted Storage (NAS) systems are picking up popularity in 2010 as prices continue to drop and people realise that having a centralised location for files and backups is both practical and useful.

Most NAS systems we have looked at so far have been running on Linux software and have been based on embedded ARM processor designs from manufacturers such as Marvell. Windows Home Server will run on a standard PC processor such as those from Intel or AMD. The processor in the Asus system for instance is an Intel Atom design.

Windows Home Server is basically a stripped down Windows Server 2003 operating system focusing on ‘ease of use’ for a mainstream user … roughly translated this means the person can get up and running with the minimum of effort. The tabbed and labelled program which runs on these systems (server console) ensures that everything is in one easy to access place rather than throughout a plethora of locations as would be the case on a traditional server style operating system.

The Asus system is based around a Intel Atom N280 CPU, paired with 2GB of Ram and has two small cooling fans built into the chassis and when idle it draws around 20W.

CPU Intel Atom Processor N280 1.66ghz
Memory 1GB/2GB DDR2-800mhz
Hard Drive 500gb/1TB/2TB 7,200rpm
Networking 1x 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) RJ45 LAN
Interfaces 6x USB 2.0, 2 x eSATA, 1x K-Lock
AC Power Adapter (Watt) Output: 19v, 90W
Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60hz Universal
Dimensions 9.6″ (H) x 3.8″ (W) x 8″ (D)
Weight 3.3/3.9kg
Operating System Microsoft Windows Home Server
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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
Asus TS Mini Windows Home Server (1TB) Review, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating
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16 Comments
  • Stefan
    July 26, 2010
    #1
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    That is quite expensive. the software is much better than the buffalo NAS, but its twice the price with the same 1TB storage. its not much faster either than the buffalo. Ah well, nice attempt by Asus

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  • Death Dealer
    July 26, 2010
    #2
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    ouch, almost £400. id rather buy two 500 GB drives for the synology unit you guys reviewed recently and get much higher performance for about 50 quid more. Seems Asus need to get this dropped to around £270.

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  • Terry
    July 26, 2010
    #3
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    nice enough unit, if it was much faster, rather slow.

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  • Tech head
    July 26, 2010
    #4
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    Thats £200 performance for £380. its not going to work for Asus really unless they target the PCworld audience, and they might not fork out so much for a NAS. has the potential to be great, but they need to drop the price by £100-130.

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  • Flo
    July 26, 2010
    #5
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    Asus have mistargeted this unit. The controller performance is sub £250 market, but they have put on expensive software which adds to the value, but they sell it for the same price as a naked synology 710+ which has basically twice the performance if you add your own drives.

    Working it out. Synology 710 £380, same price as the asus without drives, so adding 1TB is about £50-60 more, 2TB is actually down to £90 now in the UK, so id go for that. get double the storage and double the performance for £90 more. seems like a no brainer to me. The buffalo on the other hand, is half the price and isnt actually much slower. Asus need to do more market research, might work on lesser sites, but we kitguru readers are too coy !

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  • Steven
    July 26, 2010
    #6
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    This is the issue with Windows. sure its awesome and user friendly but that system I bet is slower than a linux powered unit with a much weaker processor, this negates the power of the atom in this market place and everything feels sluggish. my friend has another unit with an atom processor in it running windows and it just grinds. The Linux OSes are much better and cost nothing to product. Asus assuredly have to pay out of t he pocket for this software.

    Its a failed execution for asus, which is a shame as I like the appearance and internal strucutre.

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  • Tim
    July 26, 2010
    #7
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    You know, I read this review and thought, ok its not that fast but for £250 its a good buy, and was going to order one until I saw the price.

    Asus, WTF?! I also saw the review on bittech of this earlier and they scored it lower than Kitguru, seems a bad product pricing. If they have put in a raid 0 system and offered 2tb for this price, it would be a great buy, but a single 60 quid drive and no raid 0 options even if you want them later? no jumbo frame options is also shocking in a unit like this.

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  • Eric K
    July 26, 2010
    #8
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    Disappointing product, but I like it. just needs to drop in price to be a worthwhile purchase. I hate the way companies market these as ‘gigabit’ capable but they really struggle to achieve even a third of the rated performance at times.

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  • Tri Color
    July 26, 2010
    #9
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    Asus make some stunning motherboards and even their promotional graphics cards are wicked but once they step outside these zones, they tend to falter a little. they make some nice laptops however.

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  • Terry
    July 26, 2010
    #10
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    Windows is always the death of these NAS systems.

    Why? the companies like asus need to charge moer to cover the costs that microsoft inflict. they run slower than any other OS due to the bloated code. performance is a bit poor for the price however, thats something they should look into.

    Also Zardon I tink your review scored it too high, bittech are more accurate giving it 5 out of 10. you are too generous.

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  • Francois Le Bon
    July 26, 2010
    #11
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    Zardon I read the bit tech review last month actually on this and I just refreshed my memory, they said it got 8 MB/s write speed? and 6.2 MB/s read speed? thats way under 100mbit, never mind 1000mbit. Are they wrong?

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  • Zardon
    July 26, 2010
    #12
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    Hi Francois, I can’t comment on other websites and its not really ethical of us to do so anyway. id rather concentrate on what we do here rather than what anyone else does.

    I can say however that the testing we performed was handled over a dedicated belkin 16 port gigabit switch which is one of the best on the market (I find so anyway). so our testing is pretty much limited by the devices rather than issues with the network. im positive the results I posted are accurate in our own environment.

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  • Francios leBon
    July 26, 2010
    #13
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    Zardon, thats why I come here, I almost didnt buy the Noctua NH D14 after reading the bit tech review when the product was launched, they gave it performance 6 out of 10 or something ridiculous. Then I read your review and it was almost 10/10. I bought one via a dealer here and it is incredible. I rest my case :)

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  • Alan Jones
    July 27, 2010
    #14
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    I think you’re missing the point. This is not a NAS, it’s a server. Aside from providing file sharing, it does fully automated incremental backups of up to 10 PCs on the network, bare-metal restore of a fried or infected box, remote access to all PCs on the network through RDP, and has dozens of excellent add-in programs providing features like integrated off-site backup. You can plug in a stack of external USB drives to easily increase the capacity. It’s a lousy NAS, but it’s a very good value as a server. Don’t compare it to NAS boxes, compare it to HP MediaSmarts and other WHS boxes..

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  • Eric k
    July 27, 2010
    #15
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    Dont think its missing the point myself. I know the QNAP have a lot of that functionality Alan and even the synology can be connected to USB and even eSATA drives. I also am pretty sure QNAP can offer automated backups.

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  • Tech Head
    July 27, 2010
    #16
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    While Alan Jones makes some good points, the ‘NAS’ marketplace in 2010 is so advanced that many of them are actually ‘server’ systems, even if they aren’t running Windows operating systems. Synology systems for instance, one of which was reviewed here, can offer esata and USB drive connectivity for additional storage. they can offer media streaming, bitorrent functionality and even server duties such as FTP and other things. QNAP are much the same, as their NAS systems, even offer backup duties and almost everything I can see that this Asus ‘server’ system supports.

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