This Epson scanner really is great quality and I have a few Epson peripherals and find that they are well worth shelling out for.
The installation is relatively easy, I installed the software first and then attached the scanner via the USB 2.0 cable. My PC only has USB1 ports but the scanner still works just fine, albeit slightly slower. ( Scanning speed at USB2.0 optimum levels are approximately 2.8msec per line in monochrone and 8.7msec per line in colour. ) I have Windows XP installed and this works perfectly and it's also compatible with Windows 98 upwards and Macs. ( Although there are minimum system requirements. )
Windows and Macintosh requirements :
500MB of available hard disk space (minimum )
CD-ROM drive ( 4x or faster )
USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 compatible operating system ( although it recommends 2.0 for optimal performance. However, I have a USB1 and it works perfectly well.)
128MB RAM ( 256MB RAM recommended )
Additional Windows requirements :
IBM compatible PC with Pentium MMX equivalent or higher processor.
USB 1.1 - Windows 98/Windows 2000 professional/Windows ME or Windows XP Home edition /XP professional.
USB 2.0 - 2000 professional/Windows ME or Windows XP Home edition /XP professional.
Additional Macintosh requirements :
imac or any G3 or later with built in USB
USB 1.1 - Mac OS 8.6 to 9.x, Mac OS X 10.2.x
The software itself allows you a fair few options. It allows you to 'scan to web' or 'smart' scan which has a few options in itself, to scan any files straight into a folder anywhere on your PC for example and even choose what 'type' of 'material' you are scanning ( text, picture, magazine article, black&white, colour, film negatives etc ) for more accurate scanning. It will also allow for automatic colour restoration and dust/scratch removal on scanning should you so wish, but if you would like to manually 'fix' any imperfections the software comes with Adobe Photoshop elements which is a fantastic piece of software to do so with. The software also includes the likes of "ABBYY FineReader Sprint" which allows the user to convert scanned documents into editable formats, which I have found really useful for importing/exporting text documents.
The scanner itself captures your document/pictures at 3200 x 6400 dpi resolution which allows for very fine, accurate reproductions. I've found that this allows for very generous sizes of enlargements ( maximum resolution is 12,800 x 12,800 dpi with software interpolation ) although if you wish to save any photos for example onto an online picture-storing website, I would resize the resolution of the image in the Adobe software to allow for quicker uploads.
The scanner itself. The scanner is a flat-bed scanner with a maximum scan area of 216mm x 297mm ( 8.5" x 11.7" ) so for very large documents I would scan separately and then merge them together in the adobe software. However, for your average A4 type documents and smaller, it's just fine.
This scanner also includes a built-in 35mm slide/film strip and medium format adapter, which can scan slides and film strips, up to 4 slides or 12 negative film strips. The software has a " film negatives" options which will then convert the negative automatically. This is great for restoring old photos which may be too badly damaged for restoration or simply lost !!
Epson Perfection 3170 photo scanner
3" x 9" transparency adapter (built into scanner lid)
3 film holders: 35 mm slides, 35 mm film strips and medium format
CD-ROM with Epson scan software, productivity software, and electronic reference guide
CD-ROM with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0
USB 2.0/1.1 cable
AC adapter and power cable
Scanner setup poster
Not cheap, but does what it should and more... - Advantages: 3200 dpi - interpolated up to 12800!, can scan up to 12 negatives in one go, creates PDF, JPG, BMP and other file formats - Disadvantages: not really cheap yet, if you're not careful, you can easily create files close to 1GB