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A computer needs an interface with a printer to use it, common interfaces are

Serial – Slow data transfer

Parallel – Faster transfer than serial

Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) – Uses parallel technology

Universal Serial Bus (USB) – Fast and practical, PnP

Firewire/ i.LINK/ IEEE1394 – Fast data transfer

Ethernet – Connect the printer to a network using the RJ-45

Wireless – Infrared, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, need transmitters and will work for a maximum of 3.7m


High quality

Fast from 20-30 ppm up to 100’s of ppm

Toner cartrige is cheaper pp


Uses printer tape or inked ribbon.

Noisy, slow, bad graphic quality and limited colour

Ink jet

Thermal, steams the ink onto the paper

Piezoelectric, Vibrates the ink onto the paper

Solid ink printers

Heats solid ink sticks and sprays it onto the paper, expensive to buy and run

Thermal printers

uses a special paper that turns black when heated

Dye-sublimation printers

Same as solid ink printer but it steams the ink onto the paper

When selecting a printer the following should be considered depending on the situation

Capacity and speed





Sceduled servicing

Meat time between failures (MTNF)

Total cost of ownership


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