Connectivity, I/O, and Power
For most LCD displays, you swing around the back and you have a power connector, an HD-15 analog connector, and maybe a DVI digital connector. The Ultrasharp 2408WFP is, thankfully, not like most LCD monitors in this respect. A peek under the rear of the monitor showcases a very impressive array of connectivity ports.
On the left, we have a standard 3-pin AC jack. Pretty standard stuff, here, but this shows that the monitor has an integrated power supply. This means that you won’t have any external power “bricks” to deal with – just run the power line right up. We ran some quick power tests on the display through our wattage meter, and we found that the 2408WFP used a maximum power level of 70W when displaying all white content on-screen. Showing all black, the power load level dropped down to 66W. If you’re running devices off the onboard USB ports, this number will increased slightly. For example, with an iPhone charging through the monitor’s USB port, our peak power consumption jumped up to 73W.
Let’s talk input connectors. From left to right, we have one DisplayPort 1.1, one HDMI, two dual-link DVI digital ports, one HD-15 analog port, 1 x S-Video, 1 x Composite, Component, HDMI audio output, and 1 x USB 2.0 upstream with 2 x USB 2.0 downstream ports. It’s a very comprehensive array of connectivity options, and this is what really separates the 2408WFP from the rest of the LCD monitor pack.
The most eye-catching additions here are the DisplayPort and HDMI ports, both of which are new to Dell’s 24” monitor lineup. Both of these ports are “next-gen” ports, and are not widely used on most consumer level graphics cards just yet. HDMI is gaining traction with home-theater PC focused graphics cards, whereas DisplayPort is the next-generation replacement for DVI. DisplayPort connections are now available on some GeForce 9600-series cards and on AMD’s new FireGL V7700, but market penetration is still slim. Both DisplayPort and HDMI can carry the same resolutions as a dual-link DVI port and also 8-channel audio. Dell does not list which variant of HDMI is supported on this monitor, although it’s believed to be HDMI 1.3. For our testing, however, we used the fancy new DisplayPort connector, which can be seen below.
DisplayPort 1.1 connectors are about half the height and width of a DVI connector, but can carry significantly more data. DisplayPort sports a sleek locking mechanism which keeps the connection sturdy when hooked up to a graphics card. When plugged in, a pressure lock is put in place, which requires the connector to be pressed down while being pulled out. No more half-connected DVI cables and screwing/unscrewing the retention mechanism in place – it’s a very nice connector. Dell includes a DisplayPort cable in the box, as well as DVI, HD-15, USB 2.0 upstream and power cables. No HDMI cabling is included in the box.
As for HDMI vs. DisplayPort, it’s a tough battle right now. Both connectors share many of the same attributes, and in terms of features, DisplayPort 1.1 and HDMI 1.3 are pretty similar all around. It’s somewhat frustrating that the industry couldn’t sit on HDMI as the true next-generation graphics card connector, but given that DisplayPort is a royalty-free interface, we think there might be some politics involved. Technology-wise, both HDMI and DisplayPort are excellent interfaces and have significant benefits over today’s DVI/HD-15 interfaces.
Memory Card Reader / USB 2.0 Ports
VESA Mounting Panel
We’re still not done with the connectors, though. If you choose to plug in the USB 2.0 upstream connector to your PC, you’ll be granted the ability to plug in up to four USB 2.0 devices to your monitor. Two of the ports are located on the back of the display by the I/O connectors, the other two are located on the left side of the display. Sitting alongside these two USB 2.0 connectors are the monitor’s memory card reader slots, which support 9 different memory card variants over two slots. These ports talk to your main system via USB 2.0, so if you want to use this function, you’ll need to plug in that USB 2.0 cable.