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How to customize and optimize a computer forensic workstation with CASELAB's Merlin SM8 and ICY DOCK's SSD/HDD high density storage kits for intensive digital forensic data analysis?
Date: 2021.08.19
How to customize and optimize a computer forensic workstation with CASELAB's Merlin SM8 and ICY DOCK's SSD/HDD high density storage kits for intensive digital forensic data analysis?
In today's digital world, protecting your data is of utmost importance. This is especially true when it comes to protecting data that is used in a court of law. Computer forensic investigators rely on forensic computer systems to collect, analyze, and preserve data to presenting them in the court. For this reason, forensic computer systems must be reliable in terms of delivering effective results and minimizing the margin of error that may occur. One of the problems that computer forensic investigators are currently facing is the amount of data that is collected onto a single forensic system. In order to analyze the vast amount of data on a single computer system users will not only require more processing power, but additional drives as well to support amount of data that is being analyzed. Therefore, having the option to run multiple processors, enough space to hold a plethora of storage drives, and the ability to read/write various data types all on a single computer system is the end goal for an ultimate forensic computer system.
Recommended Computer Case
This takes us to CASELAB's Merlin SM8. This unit is a heavy duty full aluminum computer case that is currently being appointed and use by many computer forensic investigators including the FBI Computer Analysis Response Team. What makes this case so good for this purpose is that it caters to the individual's preference in terms of customization. With a spacious interior, users can practically install any type of add-on into this case!
Add-on Capability
Computer forensic investigators use dedicated forensic computer systems to analyze and store data. If the CPU-processing-power-hungry forensic system overheats during this process, data may end up being corrupted or lost. Therefore, in order to prevent any hardware from overheating and possible corrupting important data, an effective CPU cooler is needed. CASELAB's Merlin SM8 is specifically designed to accommodate any type of CPU cooler such as the Cooler Master V8 GTS.
Similarly, for the graphic processor unit, an oversized cooler can be installed to prevent overheating on the unit. An example would be the Colorful iGame GTX 680 which provides the best cooling performance.
In addition, the case is also equipped with a fully removable motherboard tray. This will give users an easier time when installing their motherboard and other components such as G.Skill Ripjaws X series SDRAM, Samsung XP941 M.2, and more.
Radiators and fans can be installed on the open space at the top of the case. You can install up to 4x 120mm fans on the top or even a radiator to ensure effective airflow and maximum cooling. Products such as Crosair's Hydro Series or Noctua Fans can provide this level of cooling.
As you can see, the versatility of CASELAB's Merlin SM8 allows computer forensic investigators to be able to fully customize their workstation according to their needs, which will make their work easier and much more efficient without the problems heating can cause on data integrity.
Frontal Bay Accessibility
Going to the exterior of the Merlin SM8, the SM8 offers enough frontal access to support different types of devices such as card readers, drive caddies and more. It will allow all of the investigative works to be completed easily and without the need to dissemble the computer apart, making an effective and efficient forensic workstation.

An example such as the Tableau T35689iu forensic SATA/IDE/SAS/USB/FireWire Bridge allows drive connectivity outside of the host unit. It also works for legacy drives such as IDE drives and offer connectivity for Firewire 400 and 800. Computer forensic investigators can also use write blockers to prevent contamination of evidence data when accessing data thru USB or Firewire. The Tableau TB- R2 Forensic USB Bridge useful for this purpose.
Similarly, ICY DOCK's DuoSwap MB971SP-B offers benefits but focus more on the SATA hard drives. It allows 1x 2.5" drive and 1x 3.5" hard drive to be inserted in a 5.25" bay simultaneously. Equipped with a front panel release buttons for both 3.5" and 2.5" drive and a small manual on/off button for each of both drive bays, users can hot swap their drives and control the activity of the drives within a push of a button.
If a 3.5" drive such as Western Digital Red, Green, Blue and Black series requires a frontal hot swap, ICY DOCK's full metal TurboSwap MB171SP-B can get the job done securely. It is has a full metal construction and is equipped with an 80mm cooling fan (also supports a 120mm fan with optional screws holes) with frontal control buttons for the fan and hard drive's power. Designed to be hot swappable in a tray-less design, forensic investigators can easily switch drives in and out with ease. One can access many drives in a short amount of time, saving time and money on investigating critical cases.
Please see below for more ICY DOCK 3.5" hard drive mobile racks:
For using 2.5" HDD/SSD in ICY DOCK 3.5" HDD mobile racks, please use ICY DOCK EZConvert Series.
System Drive/RAID Array Setup
With multiple 2.5" SSD or HDD installed, computer forensic investigators can build RAID configurations to improve their systems data processing capability. By using 2.5" drives, which provides better space efficiency as oppose to 3.5" drives, various RAID modes can be configured for different applications while it occupies only a small portion of the frontal bays. You can use a reliable RAID controller card and ICY DOCK's ToughArmor series to complete this task. A suggested RAID controller card such as LSI MegaRAID series is able to help provide maximum performance and reliability for the various RAID configurations.
So why choose ICY DOCK's ToughArmor series for this purpose? ICY DOCK offers 2.5" HDD/SSD cages that hold up to 8x drives and consume only a single slot of your frontal 5.25" bay! ICY DOCK's ToughArmor series is made with all-metal design and provides hassle-free experience during installation and maintenance. Many tier-one companies such as GE, HP, Google, and Intel have integrated these products into many of their flagship workstations. Therefore, it is a must to choose ICY DOCK ToughArmor series for its reliability and longevity which are essential for a mission critical computer forensic system!
Please see below for more ICY DOCK ToughArmor Series 2.5" HDD/SSD mobile rack cages:
With CASELABS Merlin SM8's capability to provide extravagant physical space and it's extremely customizable design, it is able to handle multiple 3.5/5.25” devices, full size CPU cooler(s), high-end graphic card(s), full size motherboard, high performance RAID card(s), and anything you can think of! When combined with Icy Dock’s ToughArmor series, anyone can easily come up with a powerful workstation that will best match their needs. The limitation on the capability of these workstations is no longer physical and only your imagination can unlock the limitless potential of these workstations!
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us by email at tech@icydock.com or through our Live Chat (M-F 9-5pm PST)

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