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Printer connection; USB vs parallel

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Post time: 2004-2-5 11:03:00 |Show all posts
I have always used a parallel port for my printers.  My first one didn't have USB, the onbe I have now does, but I use the parallel port since:
1. Is it mainly for a printer, I have nothing else that would/could us it.
2. Why tie up a USB port when the other decicated port is there and I have the cable?
BUT, is there:
1. Less processor usage using a USB port?
2. Faster data transfer (USB 1.1 that is)?
I notice when I send a larger 'job' to the printer it really 'chokes' the processor, maxes it out until the job is done.  I don't know if it is a port issue or something else.
2k, w/sp4  14 processes running at startup
AMD 2100b Throughbred
nForce2 MB
512 MB PC2700

Post time: 2004-2-6 06:12:59 |Show all posts
I'm sure it is a Windows problem.

Post time: 2004-2-6 04:21:51 |Show all posts
I've had problems using a USB connected Epson 860 while sharing it over a network.
I would periodically get communication errors when printing from a networked PC but never from the host PC.
I finally went to a parallel connection and never had any further issues.
My $0.02

Post time: 2004-2-6 02:35:22 |Show all posts
I made the switch from parallel to USB and found:
1. You can do it without a re-install (as long as you turn off the printer while you swapm cables and change a setting in printer properties, I didn't).
2. The peak processor use is only for a few seconds, then it settles down (tested with the same material).

Post time: 2004-2-6 00:43:16 |Show all posts
O great and wise Peter, please enlighten me. How does a processor drive a port that is disabled?

Post time: 2004-2-5 22:59:57 |Show all posts
You didn't, that was Zelmo's proposal.
Still, the 'freeing up IRQs by disabling ISA devices' idea is obsolete now that the vast majority of systems is running on APIC interrupt controllers, where PCI devices are on dedicated IRQ links anyhow.

Post time: 2004-2-5 21:50:14 |Show all posts
I didn't say anything about DISABLING the IRQ, just that freeing up a IRQ by using the USB port instead of the parallel port wouldn't help anything here.  I don't have a IRQ sharing problem.  I haven't had one since 98SE!

Post time: 2004-2-5 20:22:37 |Show all posts
Yeah, disable the IRQ. Brilliant move. That brings the parallel port operation to ENTIRELY processor driven mode, with status polling at high rates travelling across all the system busses down to the remains of ISA in the super I/O chip.

Post time: 2004-2-5 19:19:16 |Show all posts
The IRQ isn't a issue here................

Post time: 2004-2-5 18:09:20 |Show all posts
My main reason for using USB instead of parallel is that I can disable the parallel port in BIOS and save an IRQ.
As for processor usage, what I've noticed is that most ink jets are designed for Microsoft Windows, meaning they don't have their own processing hardware and use the computer's CPU to do most of their work. Most laser printers have their own processors and hardly use the computer's CPU, except for initial data transfer which doesn't take long.

Post time: 2004-2-5 16:39:04 |Show all posts
Processor usage for data transmission will be low if using ECP parallel or USB, and really bad if using non-DMA parallel port modes (standard, EPP). System bus bandwidth blockage on parallel will be VERY bad and quite low on USB.

Post time: 2004-2-5 15:34:49 |Show all posts
I'm mostly concerned about the processor usage!
I know the printer won't print faster with either.

Post time: 2004-2-5 14:19:40 |Show all posts
USB is on a faster system connection, eating less CPU cycles. Parallel is on the remains of what used to be the ISA bus, at the far end of the bus heirarchy. It's a system bus hog, particularly if you use it in its fastest incarnation, ECP w/ DMA.
ECP parallel port however shovels about 25 percent more data per second than USB 1.x.
You choose.

Post time: 2004-2-5 12:58:48 |Show all posts
A lot depends on the printer.  I have my inkspitter on USB, and it works fine.  I ahve my laser on parallel, and it works fine.  The laser doesn't do well on USB because it goes to 'sleep' and then it loses the connection.  No biggie, but annoying to have to wake it up and hot plug again.
Your heavy CPU involvement my indicate a problem with your spooler (if you have an ink spitter.)  Make sure you have a big enough cache.
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