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Forensic laptop suggestion

Discussion of forensic workstations, write blockers, bridges, adapters, disk duplicators, storage etc. Strictly no advertising of commercial products, please.
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fraudit
Senior Member
 

Forensic laptop suggestion

Post Posted: May 14, 14 16:14

Since I have to perform a lot of works on site, not at my office, I need a powerful notebook in order to do so.

I've been using HP elitebook 8560w (i7-2630QM, Quadro M1000, 32GB, 2xHDD - 256 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD), but I'm not very satisfied with it since it's very noisy and generates a lot of heat (well, those two features are connected...) even when not performing power-consuming operations. It's two years old now and I've already had my screen replaced twice, USB 2.0 ports stopped working and the keyboard produces strange squicks (almost from the beginning). Another upsetting thing is that it cannot generate a sharp picture at the same time on its own display and external monitor - the details on one of them are always blurred (the resolution is the same on both displays). I'm also not a big fan of a local HP service, but that's a common thing I believe...

Anyway, I've been thinking on something new. Let's leave the costs aside for a while as I can customize a lot of models to my needs. The problem I'm facing is a common shortage of ports in available models - I'd like to have as many USB 3.0 ports as possible (and as many powered as possible), DisplayPort + VGA connector, eSATA connector. Another thing is the keyboard - with a numeric block necessarily and full-size arrow keys (why there are in 99% some strange ideas with those keys?).

I've found XNOTE P377SM-A (build on a Clevo platform) that is powerful, rich-featured and highly customizable (but it doesn't have DisplayPort...) but I have no experience with this brand. The really powerful config would cost around $ 3,500-4,000 (VAT included - Europe...). Do you have any comments on that model/manufacturer?

Can you come up with another brand / model worth considering as a forensic laptop?  
 
  

jaclaz
Senior Member
 

Re: Forensic laptop suggestion

Post Posted: May 14, 14 21:39

NOT what you have asked, mind you Shocked , but maybe of some use.

I don't believe that you are going to do "on-site" work relying on laptop batteries. Confused
Or holding your laptop on your actual lap, right?

So, if you have "on-site" a mains connection (and a desk/table/whatever place to rest your apparata), you could think of making a paradigm shift Wink and move from "laptop" to "portable".

Modern laptops are actually (IMHO) disguised stoves, they heat like hell, with - usually - insufficient cooling (and a large part of this is because of the senselessly high-power video card, which, unless you do some hardcore gaming in the pauses or you use on-site it's GPU for some serious password cracking you don't really-really need).

So what if you get a decent mini-itx (example):
uk.hardware.info/revie...processors
(or even thin-mini-itx) motherboard:
www.gigabyte.com/micro...rview.html
and build yourself an all-in-one (possibly bolted to the back of a 15" or 17" LCD screen) or used as "brick PC"?

I believe you have anyway to carry on site any number of boxes/suitcases (for tools, storage drives, writeblockers, evidence bags/containers/*what not*) so I don't think having a slightly less "portable" portable would be a real issue, but you will save quite a bit of money, have more flexibility and be able to replace components easily.

And there are now very small UPS's, just another "brick" to add.

jaclaz
_________________
- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is. - 
 
  

fraudit
Senior Member
 

Re: Forensic laptop suggestion

Post Posted: May 14, 14 22:16

Thanks for this, jaclaz! I haven't considered that but it sounds like something to give a thought about!

Certainly I don't rely on batteries, as they get drained way too fast when processing data. I always insist on having a room / desk with the guaranteed power source that is connected to the company / building UPS system (of course my wish is not always fulfilled).

In fact you're right by pointing at portability at the cost of laptop-based solutions. However, many of the manufacturers offer what they call portable workstations, which are in fact elephant-weight & size laptops Smile . I don't mind carrying such a beast and don't expect it to weight 2-3 kilos.

Still, the laptop concept seems to work best for me due to ease of transport and minimum care arrangements. This doesn't mean I'm stick to portability in terms of dimensions and/or weight - it's rather the shape.  
 
  

jaclaz
Senior Member
 

Re: Forensic laptop suggestion

Post Posted: May 14, 14 23:41

- fraudit
This doesn't mean I'm stick to portability in terms of dimensions and/or weight - it's rather the shape.

Yep Smile , but one can use some fantasy.
From this:
reddeerdialogue.blogsp...puter.html
to this:
resource.mmgn.com/Gall...041428.jpg
to this :
www.recycledgoods.com/...;-keyboard
to this ;):
eeepc.net/poor-mans-ne...g-on-ebay/
there is a common evolution trend.

Not really what I had in mind, but simple, cheap and effective:
englishrussia.com/2009...-computer/

A readily available "portable case" (more on the "brick" PC idea):
www.lian-li.com/en/dt_.../pc-tu100/

jaclaz
_________________
- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is. - 
 
  

webbo
Member
 

Re: Forensic laptop suggestion

Post Posted: Jun 03, 14 17:38

i was in the same situation as yourself, finally obtained a Desktop replacemnt HP Elitebook 8570. Does the job nicely but dont ask me for the spec as i dont have a clue. It has backlit keyboard as well as the number keypad, but only small arrow keys. Good luck.  
 
  

fraudit
Senior Member
 

Re: Forensic laptop suggestion

Post Posted: Jun 03, 14 23:09

Hmmm... I don't think I'll trust HP in the nearest future. Rolling Eyes

Finally I've decided to purchase Dell Precision M4800 (with i7 4900MQ) - it has a rich equipment, including many I/O ports, perfectly working keyboard (well, the test model had...) and two cooling systems which I hope will cope with heat such a best will undoubtedly produce Wink  
 
  

jhup
Senior Member
 

Re: Forensic laptop suggestion

Post Posted: Jun 04, 14 00:13

I just discovered PC part picker.

It is the coolest thing since 0K.

It saved me from some great headaches.

Why Intel, why did you have to change the naming? What was wrong with 186, 296, 386, 486 and so on? What have I done to you to deserve this?:cry:  
 

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