Connecting a scanner to your PC: USB or SCSI?

August 23, 2010  |   Blog,Scanners   |     |   0 Comment

Some scanners on the market offer two ways to connect to a personal computer: Either they can do so via USB or via SCSI.

At My Efact, we overwhelmingly recommend the use of USB. The key here is availability: We believe that your scanner is less likely to be down for extended periods with USB instead of SCSI, for several reasons:

  • Ease of maintenance: SCSI is hard to manage. One needs to know about archaic details such as SCSI IDs and proper termination. Some IT professionals may not be familiar enough with SCSI to get your scanner up and running quickly. That delay results in downtime. In contrast, USB is easy to manage. Every IT professional and most tech-savvy office employees can easily diagnose and correct USB problems. Scanner downtime is minimized.
  • Availability: SCSI cables and SCSI terminators are hard to find and expensive. If you have a bad SCSI cable, be prepared for a trip to a far-away specialty store, or wait for UPS to deliver a new one. In contrast, USB cables can be found inexpensively at any office supply store; many offices even have USB cables on-hand. If you have a bad USB cable, spend a few minutes to hook in another one.
  • Flexibility: The most common SCSI variant for scanners (Ultra SCSI/SCSI-3) has a maximum cable length of 3 meters (about 10 feet). USB has a maximum cable length of 5 meters (about 16 feet).
  • Performance: While older versions of USB were slow and unusable for scanning, modern PCs and scanners support the newer and much faster USB version 2.0. Both USB version 2.0 and SCSI can transfer scanned images faster than the scanner can scan (in other words, they are not the weakest link in the chain).
  • Universality: Every PC built in the past several years has USB version 2.0 support. That means that any PC you get to replace your current system will have USB.

My Efact does not recommend, nor do we support, using SCSI-only scanners. Additionally, we do not recommend or support using a dual-interface scanner with SCSI. Add-in USB version 2.0 cards are inexpensive and easy to install, and let you use USB for scanning.

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