Review of the Asustor Xpanstor 4 DAS. The Asustor Xpanstor 4 DAS has recently caught the eye of Mac users seeking to expand their device’s memory. This product, notable for its elegant design and professional-grade features, stands out for its high customization and independence from drivers.
DAS, or Direct Attached Storage, is a term often used in the IT world. It refers to a storage device connected directly via a local cable, such as USB-C, instead of over a network. This type of storage is especially useful for applications like Lightroom, Premiere, DaVinci Resolve, and FinalCut.
The Asustor Xpanstor 4 supports both 3.5″ SATA hard drives and 2.5″ SSDs. The choice between these two depends on the user’s priority: large data storage or speed of access.
DAS vs. External Disks
While logically similar to a commercial external disk, DAS units offer more flexibility, a broader choice of disk accommodation, and often superior speed. These features make them a preferred choice in the professional sector.
Unboxing the Asustor Xpanstor 4
The unboxing experience of the Asustor Xpanstor 4 reveals the device itself, along with a power cable, external power supply, a screw bag for 2.5″ SSD drives, and a USB-C cable. The USB 3.2 Gen 2 cable is notably reinforced at the USB-C end, preventing accidental disconnections.
Design and Build
The Asustor Xpanstor 4 boasts a professional yet aesthetically pleasing design. It features a magnetic front panel, protecting the disk slots, a power button, and activity LEDs. The rear houses a large cooling fan, USB-C, and power connectors. Its combination of glossy and matte finishes makes it a stylish addition to any workspace.
Setup and Compatibility
Connecting seamlessly to both Mac mini and Mac Studio, the Asustor Xpanstor 4 requires no additional drivers or apps. It is recognized immediately by macOS and Windows, functioning like a multi-slot reader. The disks, easily mounted even when hot, are recognized without needing reformatting if previously used with other devices.
Disk Utility and RAID Configuration
Using macOS Disk Utility, the DAS allows for the creation of RAID 0 or RAID 1 arrays or can be used as single drives. However, it lacks a hardware RAID mode or enabling utility.
Flexibility and Storage Capacity
Users have the freedom to choose between solid state and mechanical drives, or a combination of both, within its four generous slots. The only drawback noted is the absence of a USB-A hub, which would have been a convenient addition.
Advantages of a DAS System
A DAS system, like the Asustor Xpanstor 4, offers the ability to create a customized storage space and RAID configuration. Its accessible front slots also make it suitable for storing large data volumes on removable hard disks, akin to using the DAS as a card reader.
Currently, the Asustor Xpanstor 4 can house up to 88 TB of data (4×22 TB disks), with potential compatibility for larger capacity models in the future.
For Personal Archiving
While those needing always-online material and multi-user access might opt for NAS devices, the Asustor Xpanstor 4 presents an appealing option for personal archiving.
The Asustor Xpanstor 4, priced at €349.00, may seem pricey at first, especially as it comes without disks. However, its versatility, ease of use, and silent operation with a professional look make it a worthwhile investment for those seeking a flexible, efficient storage solution.
• Highly modular
• Nice design
• Quiet and in tune with Mac
• Proprietary cable
• A USB HUB is missing
• Software RAID only
• €349.00 (Asustor Xpanstor 4 AS5004U)
• €209.90 (WD Red 8 TB NAS internal hard disk 3.5″)
• €54.80 (SanDisk Ultra 3D Internal SSD 2.5″)
• €57.33 (WD Red 500 GB Internal SSD 2.5″)