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A handful of companies like Synology, QNAP, Asustor, and TerrMaster currently dominate the network attached storage (NAS) space by offering purpose-built hardware and software (usually custom Linux distributions).

But you can really turn just about any PC into a NAS with the right software. And a handful of Chinese PC makers have been offering attractively-priced hardware for folks looking to build their own NAS. Now AOOSTAR, which already offers a few interesting options like the AOOSTAR R1 and R7, has revealed it’s developing an even more powerful, versatile NAS that will launch early next year.

The upcoming system will be a reasonably compact computer powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 processor. While the company had initially planned to use a Ryzen 7 5800U processor with eight Zen 2 CPU cores and Radeon Vega graphics, that chip is being phased out, so AOOSTAR now plans to use an unspecified Ryzen 7000U series processor instead.

But while that makes the NAS more powerful than most consumer-oriented devices in this category, it’s not the only thing that makes the computer special. There’s also a small LED display on the front of the computer’s metal chassis that can be used to display system stats like machine temperature or CPU and GPU percentage use.

And the upcoming NAS is packed with features, including:

  • 6 x bays for 3.5 inch or 2.5 inch (with adapter) hard drives)
  • 6 x slots for PCIe NVMe SSDs
  • 2 x 10 GbE Ethernet port
  • 2 x 2.5 GbE Ethernet ports
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports
  • 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A ports

The computer supports dual-channel DDR4-3200 memory, AOOSTAR says it will be available as a barebones system by the end of January, 2024.

In some ways, the computer reminds me of the similarly-shaped ZimaCube Pro, which is an upcoming model that also has 6 SATA connectors for 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch hard drives, support for up to 6 NVMe SSDs, and multiple Ethernet ports.

But the ZimaCube Pro has an Intel Core i5-1235U processor, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a total of four Ethernet ports (all with support for 2.5 GbE speeds). And it’s expected to have a retail price of $1,199, although backers of a crowdfunding campaign can reserve one with a pledge of $899 or more.

I suspect AOOSTAR’s NAS will carry a lower price tag. That’s both because AOOSTAR’s existing products tend to be budget computers and because the makers of the ZimaCube are also the developers behind the open source CasaOS software that runs on the board… while AOOSTAR is only selling hardware. Customers are expected to provide their own software.

That said, there are a number of solutions that should work well with AOOSTAR’s upcoming NAS, including TrueNAS, OpenMediaVault, Unraid, or other operating systems (you could even build your own CasaOS system by installing Ubuntu, Debian, or CentOS and then loading the CasaOS user interface.

When my 6-year-old QNAP TS-251 2-bay NAS gave up the ghost last week, I seriously considered picking up one of AOOSTAR’s competitively priced systems like the N1 or R7. But ultimately I decided that I didn’t have the time or interest in configuring a DIY solution running one of those operating systems, and instead opted for an Asustor AS5402T.

Its processor isn’t quite as powerful as what you’d get from an AOOSTAR NAS or the ZimaCube Pro. But it has some of the best features I could find in a sub-$400 NAS from a major brand, and so far I’ve found the transition from QNAP’s QTS software to Asustor’s ADM operating system to be pretty painless.

That said, for folks who have the time to tinker and customize the software and don’t need something that “just works” with minimal fuss, it’s nice to see a growing number of options for NAS systems with powerful features coming from less well-known companies.

AOOSTAR says more details about its upcoming 6-bay NAS will be available closer to launch.

via AOOSTAR and ITHome

This article was first published November 27, 2023 and most recently updated January 17, 2024

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  1. Aoostar yesterday responded to my query about this device about when it would be available:

    “Due to uncontrollable factors, the 6 Bay NAS will be delayed for pre-sale. The original plan was to put AMD Ryzen 7 5800U motherboards on this NAS, but the company has decided to abandon the original plan and replace it with AMD Ryen 7000 series CPUs, please wait for our update to see which CPUs are available.😫😩You can join our Facebook Group for the latest information!”

  2. I suppose this is either OLD NEWS af the NAS should be test for 11 months OR you mean Availability by Jan 2024 (next year)?
    I guess the latter is the case?

  3. I think open source software still needs some work. I’ve tested TrueNAS, Open Media Vault and unRAID, but none of them have quite the ease of use or fit and finish as QNAP’s QTS.

    However, this does look like an interesting option with better fit and finish than pure empty cases. If only they hadn’t gone with AMD since it has such poor hardware video transcoding support from Plex.

    I am swearing off QTS in the future and hoping to build my own NAS in the future after QNAP refused to ship a backplane replacement part (meaning 2-3 week down time). Not to mention wanting to charge 2/3rds of the total system cost for the privilege. I’d much rather do business with off the shelf components going forward that has a better chance of letting me fix things on site.

  4. RAID10 !
    hardware normal speed raid is important
    NAS without hardware raid01 is not NAS, it is computer

    1. Hardware RAID only really makes sense for servers that are expected to boot from the RAID in a situation where configuring software RAID is too inconvenient, or you need certain features like encrypted virtual drives. Software raid is fine for home use as long as you back up your OS hard drive too, although personally I prefer solutions that, if you have to, let you take the drives that were in the array and browse them individually, like snapraid and BTRFs.

  5. I wonder if it supports ECC. It may be a great solution, although the price is high for a noname company.

  6. Indeed, ECC support at an aggressively competitive price would be an important differentiator, and if AOOSTAR doesn’t do it first, someone else will. Just takes the right motherboard.

  7. Buying a 2 bay storage in 2023 is the sign of not understanding how datas safety works. 🤷🏿‍♀️🤷🏿‍♀️

  8. Looks promising. I gave up on external backups/NAS a while ago because of the proprietary drives that they used to use kept dying & I couldn’t find anything that would directly replace them! At present I’m using 2 8tb HDDs spanned with 4 4tb nvmes spanned as a manual mirror. Would be nice to build something outside of my tower.

  9. If this supports ECC this would make an excellent box to run TrueNas or anything you’d wanna use ZFS with hopefully it has official or unofficial ECC support.

    1. Storage’s 5825U motherboard was developed, designed and manufactured by us at AOOSTAR, initially we were manufacturing the solution for another company in China, today we inquired about that company and they said that they sold the solution to Storage again, but we have not received any orders from that company yet. I checked today and it seems that Storage’s funding has been frozen by the crowdfunding site.

      1. Well, that’s particularly interesting, then. I backed the Storaxa, and then upgraded to the 5825U, and have been sad about their ongoing lack of delivery.
        Now, I’ll look forward to “more details” closer to launch, as everyone has an opinion on the allocation of the 5800U’s PCIe 3.0 lanes.

      2. I backed the Storaxa and there is no further update on the product. When the new NAS will be released from AOOSTAR?

        1. Due to the discontinuation of the 5800U CPU, we have had to reverse our previous plan and will be using the R7 7000 series of CPU agents with an unknown sell-by date.