The PowerConnect 2708 has a simple case construction. Remove the three small screws on the back panel, slide the cover off, and you’re in (Figure 3). It has a built-in auto-sensing power supply that eliminates the in-line “brick” found on the Linksys SWR2008. Noticeably missing from the interior is a fan. Both the 2708 and the 2716 (16 port switch) operate without a fan, making their operation virtually silent—a real plus in my book. (Only the 24 and 48 port PowerConnect models have fans.)
Heat sinks were glued to the main chips, so I was unable to determine which chipsets were used. However, a label on the back of the unit indicated that the switch contained Marvell’s virtual cable tester, so it’s safe to assume that the switch is Marvell-based
Figure 3: Dell PowerConnect 2708 Interior
It’s hard not to like the PowerConnect 2708. It’s certainly not as cheap as the $45–50 eight port unmanaged gigabit switches, but at the current special web pricing, it represents a great value. It won’t integrate into a managed enterprise network as well as the Linksys SRW2008, but in a SOHO environment, that’s typically not an issue. If you don’t need the port density of the 16 port switches in our roundup, the 2708 is a no-brainer choice.
Check out the slideshow for a detailed admin interface tour of the PowerConnect 2708.