QNAP TS-133 1-bay NAS leverages Rockchip RK3566 AI capabilities for object and face recognition

We’ve seen several hardware devices based on the Rockchip RK3566 AIoT SoC that do not make use of the key features of the processor. But QNAP TS-133 1-bay NAS is different, since it relies on the native SATA and Gigabit Ethernet interfaces for network storage, and the built-in NPU is leveraged to accelerate object and face recognition by up to 6 times.

The NAS comes with 2GB of RAM, 4GB of storage for QTS 5.0 Linux operating system, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, and the company promotes it as a “personal private cloud & home multimedia center”.

QNAP TS-133 specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3566 quad-core Cortex-A55 processor @ 1.8 GHz with Arm Mali-G52 EE GPU, 0.8 TOPS NPU/AI accelerator
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR4
  • Storage
    • 4GB eMMC flash (Dual boot OS protection)
    • 1x SATA 3.0 bay for 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch HDD or SSD
  • Networking
    • Gigabit Ethernet R45 port with Wake-on-LAN support
    • Max number of concurrent connections (CIFS) – 200 with Max. Memory
  • USB – 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 port, 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Misc – System status, LAN, and HDD LEDs; 12V 50mm fan; buzzer
  • Power Supply – 36W adapter
  • Power Consumption
    • HDD Sleep Mode – 2.74 W
    • Operating Mode, Typical – 7.32 W (Tested with drive)
  • Dimensions – 18.7 x 15.7 x 6.6 cm
  • Weight – About 600 grams
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 – 40°C; storage: -20 – 70°C
  • Relative Humidity – 5-95% RH non-condensing, wet bulb: 27˚C
RK3566 NAS GbE USB 3.0
Image source: NAS Compares

The system runs QNAP’s QTS 5.0.0 Linux-based operating system, and was tested delivering 114MB/s download, 102/104MB/s speed with or without AES-NI 256 encryption using a Samsung upload SSD 850 PRO 512GB SSD. and an Intel Xeon client… Face and object detection on a NAS may raise eyebrows, but it’s used for image classification and sorting through QuMagie Smart photo management software, and not some nefarious surveillance program, or at least, it’s what my naive self thinks: ).

You’ll find links to the OS, mobile apps, and documentation on the QNAP website. There’s also a 2-bay NAS with QNAP TS-233 model with nearly identical features, but two 3.5-inch SATA bays and support for USB One Touch Copy. The quad-core Cortex-A55 processor is also clocked faster at 2.0 GHz. NAS Compares has already reviewed QNAP TS-133 NAS with some teardown photos, and they were rather positive about the performance and features of the 1-bay NAS. I also quickly watched the part of Plex Media Server, and unsurprisingly, transcoding is not using the VPU so it’s really slow, but more strangely, the system was unable to play H.265/HEVC videos with hardware video decoding despite the codec being supported by the processor. There was no such issue with H.264. The reviewer mentioned a potential lack of license for H.265, but that would be odd.

QNAP TS-133 is listed on B&H shop for $139.00, while the TS-233 2-bay model goes for $199.00 with both currently out of stock. It is however in stock on Provantage, and European users can find it on LDLC.

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