The first Rockchip RK3566 TV box is out with H96 Max running Android 11

Rockchip RK3566 is a quad-core Cortex-A55 processor with plenty of peripherals designed for AIoT and NVR applications. While it still supports features like high-dynamic range or video post-processing, it’s not really optimized for TV boxes, but this has not stopped the maker of H96 Max “8K UltraHD” TV box to launch an RK3566 model with 4GB RAM and 8GB RAM now sold for respectively $59.99 and $76.99 on Banggood.

H96 Max 8K UHD

H96 Max RK3566 TV box specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3566 quad-core Cortex-A55 processor with Arm Mali-G52 EE GPU, 0.8 TOPS NPU/AI accelerator
  • System Memory / Storage configuration
    • 4GB DDR3, 32GB  eMMC flash, and MicroSD card
    • 8GB DDR3, 64GB  eMMC flash, and MicroSD card
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4Kp60 with 3D support,
  • Video decoding
    • 4Kp60 H.264/H.265/VP9
    • VC1 up to 1920 x 1080 @ 60fps
    • MPEG-4 up to 1920 x 1080 @ 60fps
    • HDR10 and HLG modes
  • Audio – Optical S/PDIF output, digital audio output via HDMI,
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Misc – Power/standby LED,
  • Power Supply – DC 5V/2A
  • Certification – CE, FCC, ROHS

RK3566 TV BoxSo you may wonder where is 8K video? There’s no support for 8K video despite the name “H96 Max 8K UltraHD”, the company just put an 8K logo there, because it sells?

The TV box runs Android 11 with RKMC 18.1, Neflix, Vudu, Skype chatting, Picasa, Flicker, Youtube, Facebook pre-installed. Do not expect official Netflix Full HD/4K support on this device. It ships with a power adaptor, HDMI cable, user manual, and Bluetooth voice remote control by default. I’m not quite sure who needs a TV box with 8GB RAM, but if you do, it may be the first Arm-based TV box with that much memory.


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ROCK 5 ITX RK3588 mini-ITX motherboard

29 Replies to “The first Rockchip RK3566 TV box is out with H96 Max running Android 11”

  1. No AV1 decode in the RK3566. Nice RAM though, very epic.

    I think I saw a similar fake branding of “6K” support on a recent box.

    Typo: 1088 -> 1080.

  2. “I’m not quite sure who needs a TV box with 8GB RAM”.

    Mine with 3GB gets sluggish and I have to manually close apps. I imagine a number bigger than 4 would help.

    1. From the Mecool KM6 Deluxe review on this very website, running Android TV 10:

      “I also sometimes noticed that the system got stuck for a few seconds. This doesn’t happen often but decreases the overall experience quality. When it got too bad I restarted the system and all was well again. It seems I’m always getting out of memory. If I’ve got this issue with the 4GB model, I would guess the 2GB version would easily get out of memory. With a fresh reboot, I’ve only got 2.28GB of free memory.”

      Throwing 8 GB at it might be an extreme solution to memory problems, but for $17 more, why not? And you get double the internal storage.

      1. > From the Mecool KM6 Deluxe review on this very website

        Please keep in mind that this wasn’t a real review. The guy relied on a Windows tool that has been ported over to Android presenting a certain amount of ‘Available memory’ then renaming that to ‘free memory’. Maybe both AIDA64’s and the review’s author have a limited understanding of the Linux kernel’s virtual memory implementation?

    2. I’m also a big fan of getting twice as much RAM as everyone else for any device I get, it tends to make it still usable a few years later when new software assumes this is what everyone has.

      Having 8GB also means this can be a usable low-end PC replacement once distro kernels support the SoC well enough. I’d definitely take a device like this over a random developer board without a case, or over another TV box with a faster processor but less RAM.

      I’d love to see a box like this with the wifi module on an m.2 card that can be replaced with an SSD, but I suppose if I want expandable storage I’m back to devboards.

        1. Indeed, I was confused there. I had previously seen hacks to add a second SSD to a laptop, but that must have been a B-Key WWAN modem slot then, not the WLAN slot.

        2. But with adapter outside the case, we can install m.2 nvme SSD, or even something like 4-port SATA controller for a full-blown NAS! Beats most SBCs which still don’t include PCIe and/or enough SATA. And all we need is a tiny cut in the case for the ribbon!

          Need to confirm that slot is PCIe, though. Some m.2 wifi cards are SDIO (e.g. stuff that goes into Rock Pi N10)…

  3. I regular miss in these specs whether these boxes support AC3 audio passthrough via HDMI. This is essential if you want to connect an A/V-receiver which i guess is a very common use case for these boxes. After having a lot of bad experience with Win 10 and Mac OS I wonder how it works with Android. I never had probems with Raspberry Pi but it sucks in other areas. Has anyone experience with this?

    1. Most manufacturers will not indicate this, except those that sells more expensive devices.
      When I tested TV boxes two or three years ago, AC3 HDMI pass-through would work in most devices, meaning not all, but TrueHD and DTS HD were most of a problem.

      It also depend on the app you’re going to use. My recommendations is you wait for a review for the TV box with a test of HDMI pass-through.

  4. It’s incredible how android can be so unoptimized and full of crap, I think it is by far the most slow OS for phone I’ve ever seen. And I don’t see it’s going to disappear anytime soon in favour to something better, pitiful 🙁

    1. >I think it is by far the most slow OS for phone I’ve ever seen

      What other “OS for phone” do you have to compare with? Symbian?

    2. It’s not so much the OS that’s to blame as the modern applications in general. Why browsing the web in 2021 with 4x4GHz and 16GB of RAM has to be much slower than it was in 96 on a 486DX2-66 with 16MB RAM using Netscape 2, often forcing me to kill the browser to stop “Web Content” from spinning ? Because web site developers have an infinite amount of resources to make their code run on (the visitors’ browsers) and trade efficiency for speed of development. Sadly this has become the norm in virtually any application nowadays, but fortunately the resources needed for an operating system have not grown as fast as those required by such applications. It turns out that devices not capable of running such fat applications do not interest anybody anymore and that results in applications using 100 to 1000 times more resources than what they would need if developers took the time to do their job correctly and didn’t select random libs found on the net to save development time.

      As a consequence of this, you will hardly find an OS or ecosystem that’s better than another one regarding resource usage, because these are those who populate them with their applications that use the totality of the available resources. The only metric is end-user adoption. Technical quality is not one at all in such environments, and is even a proof of time wasted doing something non-important.

  5. Pretty enticing offer honestly:

    • The cheaper variant is on par with most TV boxes in their ”high end” out fit (4 GB RAM, 32 GB SSD). They usually have Amlogic S905X2/X3/X4 variants, so Cortex A55, but Mali G31 MP2.
    • Upgrading the GPU to Mali G52 MP2 is wonderful and will provide a healthly performance boost since Mali G52 is the ”mid-end” mobile GPU on ARM
    • 8 GB is definitely a novelty, in the same vein that you see Amlogic S905X3 based boxes that have a drive bay for 2 TB HDD for around the same price (75-90 bucks). A novelty feature, but in both cases a very useful one. 8 GB of RAM is rather uncommon in most phones still, so having it here would make it great as a general desktop too.
    • Shipping with Android 11.
    • All that for 75 bucks? The only minus would be the A55 cores – They are better than A53’s, but clearly not one of the ”big” A7X based cores.

    Nevertheless, interesting device. I reckon OEM brands like Vontar are going to run wild on this. The 8 GB variant could work well as a very cheap PC if Android is configured with a desktop like launcher. Energy efficient, too.

    1. Previous generation “tv box” SoCs didn’t support more than 4GB (3 GB on Allwinner A64).

      I use Taskbar from the f-droid repository as my desktop-style launcher, which supports a start menu and windowed apps.

    2. > The only minus would be the A55 cores – They are better than A53’s, but clearly not one of the ”big” A7X based cores.
      The A55 benefits from a much faster memory controller than the older ones and can easily run side-to-side with A72 or A73 on memory-bound workloads where latency counts. And when you factor in the frequency ratio you can have in a similar thermal envelope, it’s not that difficult to have a 2 GHz A55 run at comparable performance levels to an 1.5 GHz A72 for example. Just the CPU cores alone would deliver 5.3 vs 7.1 DMIPS, a difference which can easily shrink with half memory latency.

      1. The problem I see in practice is that the SoCs with the “little” A53 or A55 cores also tend to be much more limited in cache size and memory bandwith compared to higher-end SoCs that not just have faster cores but also larger caches and wider memory interfaces.

        The new rk3566 and the s905x both come with L1 I/D cache of 32KB each per core, no per-core L2 cache and a shared last-level cache of 512KB. This is the same layout as the ancient rk3188 with its Cortex-A9 cores.

        In the latest Snapdragon 888 by contrast, there are of course the big cores, but there are also Cortex-A55 cores with 128KB L2 each, plus the shared 4MB L3 and 3MB system cache as well as a wider memory interface.

        I would expect the Cortex-A55s in rk3566 to end up slower than the A72 cores in rk3399, while the same A55 cores with better memory should easily beat the A72 for a lot of workloads.

        1. I generally agree with the points you made, but here we’re comparing cores more than whatever else can be changed around such as the cache.

          I tried on 3 of my machines to build haproxy-2.3.0 with gcc-7.5.0 in RAM with all available cores at the highest frequency (no throttling), here’s what I got:

          • rpi4b (4xA72-2.0GHz): 83.8 seconds
          • nanopi-m4 (2xA72@2.0 + 4xA53@1.5): 70.8 seconds
          • VIM3L (4xA55 @1.9): 109.3s

          So the A55 is indeed slower than its competitors here but not that much (24% slower than RPi4b-2.0 GHz for GHz). This also means that it should slightly beat the RPi4b at stock frequency.

          Re-running this test with 2 cores of each gives me the following:

          • rpi4b (2xA72@2.0): 108.5s
          • nanopi-m4 (2xA72@2.0): 164.3
          • VIM3L (2xA55@1.9): 192.5s

          In the case above, the RK3399 is only 17% faster than the A55 for 5% higher frequency.

          The A72 in the RK3399 do not always have a good bandwidth, I noticed in the past that there’s something odd with the priorities to access the memory, often the A72’s bandwidth gets much higher when A53 are working than when they’re idle. This made me suspect that the memory controller enters DVFS when less than a certain number of cores are active.

          1. Edit, VIM3L was polluted by “unattended upgrades” running in background at boot… 4 cores give 108s and 2 cores give 178s. Thus it’s almost as fast as the A72 in RK3399 clock-for-clock. The reason definitely is the RAM and cache speed. The L1 in the A55 is up to 50% faster than the one in the A72 here, and the RAM speed is twice as fast (kB/s per access type):

            The RPI4b gives exact same L1/L2 cache patterns, a bit slower L3 and 3 times better DRAM performance!

          2. The designs of the boards and components used for Amlogic S905 D\ X3, X4 can make a large difference in results. As YouTube TV box testers, have shown. In speed results, Synthetic and real world.

          3. Thanks for sharing the numbers, very interesting.

            I see that the Raspberry Pi 4 in your tests has a much harder time scaling to more than two CPUs, i.e. it’s much faster in the two-core test than the other two, but only 30% faster when all cores are in use.

          4. Yes, you definitely see that its memory bandwidth is severely limited and unsuitable for 4 cores. Comparatively, the RK3399 on single core suffers from some limitation, but its cores scale better because not all the available bandwidth is used by a single core. So I’d say that the RK3399 performs well when all its cores are running, but that it could perform much better with a single core than it actually does. I’ve been suspecting that they do this to leave a little bit of bandwidth to the 4 poor A53 there. These ones only have 64-bit read for 128-bit writes, and it’s not easy to make your place next to an A72. And definitely the A55 is impressive when it comes to memory accesses 🙂 I’m really impatient to see the RK3588 with its A76. A refreshed memory controller plus fast cores should be awesome even if the frequency is not that high (I don’t expect much more than 2-2.2 GHz, and as usual they’ll leave it to their customers to try to overclock and see what happens).

  6. Sad to see the new HK1 ( RK3566 ) and the new A95X ( S905X4 ) have gone with colour leds. Would be better to spend the leds cost on better performance components..

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