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USB is Faster But Parallel is Fine

Printers need to connect to your PC, and until recently, the most common method for connecting the two was through the parallel port. Today, however, most printers come with USB ports rather than parallel ports. USB ports are a lot faster (they have a maximum of 12Mbits per second while a parallel connection is much slower), and a single port can handle several different devices.

However, for most home printers, a USB port isn't as much of an advantage as all that. While USB is faster, most home users won't notice the difference between a USB and parallel connection -- the speed of the PC as it processes the data, and the speed of the printer itself, will make more of a difference. And if you've already got a lot of USB devices hooked into your computer, a parallel-capable printer might be useful -- since it would probably be the only device that uses your system's parallel port.

The bottom line? If your printer comes with a USB port, and you've got a handy USB connection, great.

But if you're getting an older printer with a parallel port, don't shy away from it -- it could serve you just fine.

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