Archive for Monday, January 4, 1999


January 4, 1999


Which is better: a USB, SCSI, or printer port scanner?

Neither one is better. It all depends on your needs.

SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) scanners are faster -- much faster -- than a USB (Universal Serial Bus) device. However, a SCSI device is frequently difficult to configure. Most computers require you to install a special SCSI card inside your computer, which takes up slots inside your system and may conflict with other devices already installed. SCSI devices sometimes require large power adapters and require you to turn off the computer to add or remove a SCSI device.

A USB scanner, while slower, is much easier to configure. Windows98 will automatically recognize USB devices and begin to install the required software. Also, USB devices don't require you to open your computer or turn off your computer. They usually receive power from the computer so an extra plug is not required.

Printer port scanners, while they don't require you to open up the computer, are the slowest of the three and tend to be less reliable than the others.

For most users, I recommend USB scanners because of their flexibility and ease of use.

Why do I need a USB hub if I can connect 127 devices to my system?

Most computers will come with two USB ports for connecting devices. However, these devices don't have outgoing USB ports. Thus you could only connect a maximum of two devices to your system at any one time.

A USB hub, usually with four or eight ports, extends the number of devices you can attach simultaneously. Unless you need to connect two devices at the same time to your system, then you don't need a USB hub.

-- David Greenbaum is director of Geeks on Wheels. You can send him questions at or at Geeks on Wheels, 1-888-Geek-911, toll-free nationwide.

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