Fast printers<@VM>Take a look at duty cycles, resolution, output and speed for one of these 85 quality, networkable laser printers<@VM>Take a look at duty cycles, resolution, output and speed for one of these 85 quality, networkable laser printers (Cont.)
Network-ready, monochrome laser printers are workhorses for workgroups
By J.B. Miles
Special to GCN
When it comes to laser printers, there's a lot more to a bargain than price. A $400 monochrome laser printer could easily deliver the goods for a personal or small office with limited output demands. But workgroups and small departments that demand high volume and high print quality need a real workhorse with speed, power, network capability and overall reliability.
The monochrome laser printers listed in this Buyers Guide generally cost $1,000 and up, with options that can push them over $4,000, but the benefits they provide can make them worth the price.Standard features
This guide features networkable monochrome laser printers suitable for small and large workgroup service. All of them have manufacturers' pages-per-minute ratings of between 16 and 40. They offer true resolutions of 600 by 600 dots per inch for text printing, and most come bundled with software for enhancing resolution to 1,200 or even 2,400 dpi for high-quality graphical output.
Genicom's microLaser 320 prints enhanced resolutions of up to 2,400 dpi, has a ppm rating of 32 and a maximum monthly duty cycle of 150,000 pages. The network-ready version is priced at $3,495.
Tally Printer's T9140 has a 50-MHz RISC processor and 40M to 128M of memory. It's priced at $3,995.
Virtually all of the printers listed boast powerful RISC processors and scalable memory that ranges from 8M or 16M up to 384M'and even 1G if an optional hard drive is purchased with the unit.
Each of the units is network-ready, meaning that Ethernet or token-ring cards and drivers either are preinstalled or can be included as options. Most also include drivers for Microsoft Windows 9x and NT, and Mac OS 7.5 and later. Some of them also come with Unix drivers.
Feature sets vary from vendor to vendor, but most of the units listed provide advanced paper-handling options including extra feeder trays, duplexers for printing on both sides of the page, and finishing modules such as automatic collators and staplers.
Starting with a base unit priced between $1,000 and $2,000, it's not difficult to build yourself a true laser powerhouse by adding options, but keep in mind that your cost could easily soar over $3,000 as more features are added.Seasoned units
Any workgroup printer worth its salt should be able to withstand the rigors of constant daily use, and this is where premium units depart radically from the sub-$500 laser printers designed for personal and small-office use.
One measure of the difference is a printer's duty cycle, an estimate of how many pages per month a printer is designed to handle before it fails or requires maintenance. Small personal laser printers generally offer duty cycles of several thousand to 10,000 pages per month. The printers listed here have duty cycles ranging from 35,000 to 150,000 pages per month, with 65,000 being typical for most of the units priced between $1,000 and $1,500.
Because there's no such thing as a perfect printer, you'll have to balance a number of factors to arrive at the one that best meets most of your requirements.
Total cost of ownership.
The QMS 2560 models hold up to 192M of memory and have a monthly duty cycle of 75,000 pages. Prices range from $2,499 to $2,899.
The total cost includes the printer's original cost plus that of consumables'paper, toner, replaceable parts'power consumption, maintenance, downtime and training time over the life of the printer. Factoring these elements into planning cycles of six months, one year, two years and five years provides good estimates of what a printer will actually cost.
After determining total cost, many information services managers find high-end printers to be better bargains for workgroup service than less expensive models.Speed
. A ppm rating of 16 or higher is a good place to start when buying a workgroup laser printer. Be aware, however, that printers are seldom as fast as their ratings because manufacturers typically test by printing the same page over and over to achieve the highest possible rating.
This practice doesn't account for different types of printing'plain text vs. text and graphics, for instance'or the time it takes for different pages to come to print, all of which can radically change the actual ppm output of any printer.
IBM's Network Printer 17 has a 17-ppm rating and a monthly duty cycle of 65,000 pages. Its price ranges from $1,179 to $2,467.
For quality of text output, monochrome laser printers provide the best bang for the buck, especially if text-only printing is required at resolutions of 300 dpi or 600 dpi.
For high-quality graphics output, the manufacturer's bundled enhancement software comes into play, as does the inherent quality of the printer itself. The best units combine a graphics co-processor with a high-speed RISC CPU and plenty of RAM to help manage the millions of pixels involved.Network readiness.
Why buy a printer for even a small workgroup if it isn't network-ready? If you want to save yourself the hassle of installing network cards and drivers, pay the extra $300 or $400 for a fully networkable model'usually denoted with the letter 'n' in the model number'at the outset.
Support for at least Ethernet and token-ring environments should be provided, along with support for leading network protocols such as TCP/IP, Internet Packet Exchange/
Sequenced Packet Exchange, AppleTalk and NetBIOS Extended User Interface.Network management.
Network management is generally a function of software provided by the printer manufacturer.
Most bundled software is compliant with the Simple Network Management Protocol and allows remote management of print jobs and printer functions from stations anywhere along the network.Duplexing.
The ability to print on both sides of the paper is a handy feature to have and can be installed as an option in most of the printers listed.
The Ecosys FS 7000+ from Kyocera Electronics can print at an enhanced resolution of up to 2,400 dpi. It's priced at $2,499.
But know that the option usually costs an additional $400 or $500 and will cut your printer's total ppm output by half in most cases.Installation and setup.
All of the laser printers here come bundled with the manufacturer's installation and setup utilities. Most of them install the drivers automatically, but in some cases you may have to enter the path to the driver on the CD-ROM installation disk before you can successfully install the unit. This can be annoying and often requires a fairly experienced technician.Paper management.
Look for the ability to handle a wide variety of paper sizes'up to tabloid'and stock if you are interested in versatility. Most printers come standard with a 500-page input tray; many also come with a 100-page multipurpose tray that can handle a variety of paper sizes simultaneously.
As the price of your laser printer goes up, so does its ability to handle sophisticated input/output functions. Plenty of units priced at $2,000 and up offer optional trays capable of handling 2,000 sheets or more. The more expensive units also can add finishing units with multiple bins for sorting, collating and stapling.Print languages and fonts
. A print language is the means by which a computer sends information about a page to the printer. Most of the printers in this guide use Adobe PostScript or HP PLC 5x or 6 and come with an assortment of type fonts compatible with either language. Extra fonts can usually be added via a cartridge.
|Tips for Buyers|
- Buy a model with built-in network capability'usually identified by 'n' in the model number.
- Calculate carefully the costs of toner, paper supplies, printer drums and other items.
- Buy all the extra RAM you can
afford. Consider a hard-drive option for complex print jobs.
- Decide which, if any, advanced paper management features you really need. They're nice but costly.
- Look for a printer with a hefty duty cycle.
- Use manufacturers' pages-per-minute speed claims for comparison, but don't expect any printer to perform
at its rated speed.
Most of the printers in this category also can determine which language the host computer is using and automatically switch over as required.True costs
. Bear in mind that the costs of consumables, options and features of a laser printer in this class can vary widely, significantly affecting your bottom line. Check manufacturers' specifications carefully for the quoted yield of a toner cartridge'typically measured at 5 percent coverage per page for 10,000 to 20,000 pages'and measure this against the type of print jobs you will most often undertake.
At about $100 to $250 per cartridge, the differences between one vendor's quoted yield and another's can make a lot of difference at year's end for a busy workgroup. Also, do some comparison-shopping among vendors, not only for options and feature sets but also for prices. Vendor Web sites are a good source of information about prices and product specifications. J.B. Miles of Pahoa, Ha-waii, writes about communications and computers.
| Vendor|| Product|| Maximum speed in pages per minute || CPU and memory|| True/enhanced resolution in dots per inch|| Duplex/network-ready|| Standard/ maximum paper input capacity|| Maximum duty cycle in pages per month|| Price|
| Brother International Corp.|
|HL-1660e||17||100-MHz RISC, 8M to 72M||600/1,200||Optional/optional||650/1,150||35,000||$900|
|HL-2060||21||100-MHz RISC, 8M to 72M||600/1,200||Optional/optional|| 650/1,150 ||35,000||$994|
| Canon USA Inc.|
Lake Success, N.Y.
| imageCLASS 4000 Series|| 32 || 100-MHz PowerPC, 8M to 40M || 600/1,200 || Optional/optional|| 1,100/3,000 || 150,000 || $2,290 to $3,028 |
|LBP-1760||17||50-MHz RISC, 4M to 36M||600/1,200||Optional/optional||1,100/1,600||65,000||$1,192|
| Compaq Computer Corp.|
| LN16 || 16 || 125-MHz RISC, 12M to 64M || 600 to 2,400 || Optional/yes || 650/1,150 || 35,000 || $1,204 |
|LN32||32||133-MHz RISC, 32M to 96M||600/1,200||Optional/yes||1,050/3,550||150,000||$2,544|
| GCC Technologies U.S.A.|
| Elite XL 20/600 || 20 || 50-MHz RISC, 16M to 64M || 600 || Optional/yes || 500/1,000 || 65,000 || $1,599 |
|Elite XL 20/800||20||50-MHz RISC, 24M to 64M||800||Optional/yes||500/1,000||65,000||$1,899 |
|Elite XL 20/1,200||20 ||50-MHz RISC, 64M||1,200/1,200||Optional/yes||500/1,000||65,000||$2,199|
| microLaser 170 || 17 || 125-MHz Mips, 12M to 64M || 600/2,400 || Optional/yes || 550/1,200 || 35,000 || $1,195 |
|microLaser 170N||17||125-MHz Mips, 12M to 64M ||600/2,400||Optional/yes ||550/1,200||35,000||$1,495|
|microLaser 280||28||166-MHz RISC, 12M to 64M||600/2,400||Optional/optional||550/2,000||100,000|| $1,995|
| microLaser 280N|| 28|| 166-MHz RISC, 12M to 64M|| 600/2,400|| Optional/yes|| 550/2,000|| 100,000|| $2,365 |
| microLaser 320|| 32|| 133-MHz RISC, 32M to 64M|| 600/2,400|| Optional/optional|| 1,050/2,500|| 150,000|| $3,195 |
| microLaser 320N|| 32|| 133-MHz RISC, 32M to 64M|| 600/2,400|| Optional/yes|| 1,050/2,500|| 150,000|| $3,495 |
| Hewlett-Packard Co. |
Palo Alto, Calif.
| LaserJet 4050 || 17 || 133-MHz RISC, 8M to 64M || 600/1,200 || Optional/optional || 600/1,100 || 65,000 || $1,099 |
| LaserJet 4050se|| 17|| 133-MHz RISC, 8M to 64M || 600/1,200|| Optional/optional|| 600/1,100|| 65,000|| $1,149|
| LaserJet 4050T|| 17|| 133-MHz RISC, 8M to 64M|| 600/1,200|| Optional/optional|| 600/1,100|| 65,000|| $1,249 |
| LaserJet 4050N|| 17|| 133-MHz RISC, 8M to 64M|| 600/1,200|| Optional/yes|| 600/1,100|| 65,000|| $1,415 |
| LaserJet 4050TN|| 17|| 133-MHz RISC, 8M to 64M|| 600/1,200|| Optional/yes|| 600/1,100|| 65,000|| $1,599 |
| LaserJet 5000|| 16|| 100-MHz RISC, 4M to 1G|| 600 to 1,200|| Optional/optional|| 350/1,100|| 65,000|| $1,425 |
| LaserJet 5000 N|| 16|| 100-MHz RISC, 8M to 1G|| 600 to 1,200|| Optional/yes|| 350/1,100|| 65,000|| $1,995 |
| LaserJet 5000 GN|| 16|| 100-MHz RISC, 12M to 1G|| 600 to 1,200|| Optional/yes|| 350/1,100|| 65,000|| $2,500 |
| LaserJet 8000|| 24|| 133-MHz RISC, 16M to 1G|| 600 to 1,200|| Optional/optional|| 1,100/3,100|| 130,000|| $2,069 |
| LaserJet 8000 N|| 24|| 133-MHz RISC, 16M to 1G|| 600 to 1,200|| Optional/yes|| 1,100/3,100|| 130,000|| $2,579 |
| LaserJet 8000 DN|| 24|| 133-MHz RISC, 24M to 1G|| 600 to 1,200|| Yes/yes|| 1,100/3,100|| 130,000|| $3,049 |
| LaserJet 8100|| 32|| 166-MHz RISC, 16M to 1G|| 600 to 1,200|| No/no|| 1,100/3,100|| 150,000|| $2,639 |
| LaserJet 8100 N|| 32|| 166-MHz RISC, 16M to 1G|| 600 to 1,200|| Optional/yes|| 1,100/3,100|| 150,000|| $2,939 |
| LaserJet 8100 DN || 32|| 166-MHz RISC, 24M to 1G|| 600 to 1,200|| Yes/yes|| 1,100/3,100|| 150,000|| $3,409 |
| IBM Corp.|
| Network Printer 17 || 17|| 33-MHz RISC, 4M to 68M || 600 || Yes/yes || 350/1,350 || 65,000 || $1,179 to $2,467 |
|Infoprint 20|| 20||50-MHz RISC, 8M to 96M||600||Yes/yes||650/2,500||75,000||$1,456 to $3,245|
| Infoprint 32|| 32|| 66-MHz RISC, 8M to 64M|| 600|| Optional/yes|| 1,000/2,500|| 150,000|| $2,422 to $3,624 |
| Infoprint 40|| 40|| 66-MHz RISC, 16M to 64M|| 600|| Optional/yes|| 1,000/2,500|| 200,000|| $2,687 up|
| Kyocera Electronics Inc.|
| Ecosys FS 3750|| 18 || 166-MHz PowerPC, 16M to 64M || 1,200/2,400 || Optional/yes || 350/2,000 || 50,000 || $1,099 up |
|Ecosys FS 7000+ ||28||166-MHz PowerPC, 16M to 64M ||600/2,400||Optional/yes||1,000/3,000 ||100,000||$2,499 up|
|Ecosys FS 9000||36||233-MHz PowerPC, 16M to 64M||600/2,400||Optional/yes||1,000/3,000||150,000||$2,999 up|
|Vendor||Product||Maximum speed in pages per minute ||CPU and memory||True/enhanced resolution in dots per inch||Duplex/network-ready||Standard/ maximum paper input capacity||Maximum duty cycle in pages per month||Price|
|Lexmark International Inc.|
|Optra S 1625/1625n||16||100-MHz RISC, 4M to 68M||1,200/1,200||Optional/optional||350/2,000||65,000||$1,049|
|Optra S 1625n||16||100-MHz RISC, 8M to 68M||1,200/1,200||Optional/yes||350/2,000||65,000||$1,349 to $1,409|
|Optra S 1855||18||133-MHz RISC, 4M to 68M||1,200/1,200||Optional/optional||350/2,000||65,000||$1,099 |
|Optra S 1855n||18||133-MHz RISC, 8M to 68M||1,200/1,200||Optional/yes||350/2,000||65,000||$1,419 to $1,559 |
|Optra T612||20||167-MHz RISC, 8M to 264M||1,200/1,200||Optional/optional||600/3,600||100,000||$1,149|
|Optra T612n||20||167-MHz RISC, 16M to 272M||1,200/1,200||Optional/yes||600/3,600||100,000||$1,499 to $1,599|
|Optra S 2455||24||133-MHz RISC, 8M to 136M||1,200/1,200||Optional/optional||1,250/3,600||100,000|| 1,829 to $1,919|
|Optra S 2455n||24||133-MHz RISC, 16M to 136M||1,200/1,200||Optional/yes||1,250/3,600||100,000||$2,179 to $2,229|
|Optra T614||25||200-MHz RISC, 8M to 384M||1,200/1,200||Optional/optional||600/4,100||130,000||$1,729|
|Optra T614n||25||200-MHz RISC, 16M to 384M||1,200/1,200||Optional/yes||1,100/4,100||130,000||$2,179 to $2,239|
|Optra SE 3455||34||167-MHz RISC, 16M to 384M 8M to 136M||1,200/1,200||Optional/optional||1,250/3,600||150,000||$2,199 to $2,299|
|Optra Se 3455n||34||167-MHz RISC, 16M to 136M||1,200/1,200||Optional/yes||1,250/3,600||150,000||$2,429 to $2,699|
|Optra T616||35||200-MHz RISC, 16M to 384M||1,200/1,200||Optional/optional||1,100/4,100||150,000||$2,299|
|Optra T616n||35||200-MHz RISC, 16M to 384M||1,200/1,200||Optional/yes||1,100/4,100||150,000||$2,549 to $2,609|
|Optra W810||35||200-MHz RISC, 16M to 384M||1,200/1,200||Optional/optional||1,250/3,750||150,000||$2,529|
|Optra W810n||35||200-MHz RISC, 16M to 384M||1,200/1,200||Optional/yes||1,250/3,750||150,000||$2,699 to $2,759|
|Optra W810dn||35||200-MHz RISC, 32M to 384M||1,200/1,200||Yes/yes||1,250/3,750||150,000||$3,329|
|PageWorks 18||18||66-MHz PowerPC, 4M to 68M||600/1,200||Optional/optional||250/1,250||60,000||$899|
|PageWorks 18LN||18||20-MHz RISC, 2M to 18M||600/1,200||N/A||250/1,250||60,000||$1,099|
|PageWorks 18N||18||66-MHz PowerPC, 4M to 68M||600/1,200||Optional/yes||250/1,250||60,000||$1,299|
|PageWorks 18 Plus||18||100-MHz RISC, 4M to 68M||600/1,200||Optional/yes||250/1,250||60,000||$1,499|
|Mita Copystar America Inc.|
|DP-1800||18||166-MHz PowerPC, 16M to 64M||600/1,200||Optional/optional||350/1,350||50,000||$1,216|
|NEC Technologies Inc.|
|SuperScript 1800||18||100-MHz PowerPC, 12M to 132M||600/1,200||Yes/optional||250/750||65,000||$799|
|SuperScript 1800N||18||100-MHz PowerPC, 12M to 132M||600/1,200||Yes/yes||250/750||65,000||$999|
Mount Laurel, N.J.
|Okipage 18||18||100-MHz RISC, 16M to 80M||600/1,200||Optional/optional||630/1,790||65,000||$989 up|
|Okipage 18n||18||40-MHz RISC, 32M to 80M||600/1,200||Optional/yes||630/1,790||65,000||$1,319|
|Okipage 20||20||40-MHz RISC, 4M to 68M||600/1,200||Optional/optional||630/1,790||50,000||$989 up|
|Okipage 20DX||20||40-MHz RISC, 4M to 68M||600/1,200||Yes/optional||630/1,790||50,000||$1,044 up|
|Okipage 20DXn||20||40-MHz RISC, 12M to 68M||600/1,200||Yes/yes||630/1,790||50,000||$1,319|
|Okipage 24DX||24||120-MHz RISC, 16M to 80M||600/1,200||Yes/optional||630/1,790||65,000||$1,429 up|
|Okipage 24DXn||24||120-MHz RISC, 32M to 80M||600/1,200||Yes/yes||1,169/1,790||65,000||$1,869|
|2060 FX||20||100-MHz RISC, 8M to 128M||600/1,200||Optional/yes||400/1,150||50,000||$2,499|
|2560 BX||25||80-MHz Power PC, 8M to 192M||600/1,200||Optional/yes||750/3,500||75,000||$2,299|
|2560 FX/EX||25||80-MHz PowerPC, 32M to 192M||600/1,200||Optional/yes||750/3,500||75,000||$2,499 up|
|3260||32||150-MHz RISC, 16M to 384M||600||Optional/yes||1,050/2,500||150,000||$3,199|
|3260 EX||32||150-MHz RISC, 32M to 384M||600/1200||Optional/yes||1,050/2,500||150,000||$3,699|
|4032||40||150-MHz RISC, 32M to 384M||600/1200||Optional/yes||1,050/2,500||200,000||$3,699 |
|4032 EX||40||150-MHz RISC, 32M to 384M||600/1200||Optional/yes||1,050/2,500||200,000||$4,199|
West Caldwell, N.J.
|Aficio AP2700||27||167-MHz RISC, 16M to 80M ||600||Optional/yes||500/1,500||65,000||$2,195|
|Aficio AP 4500||40||100-MHz RISC, 8M to 72M||400/600||Yes/yes||500/3,550||150,000||$4,095|
|Samsung Electronics America Inc.|
Ridgefield Park, N.J.
|QL-7000 Series||17||100-MHz PowerPC, 4M to 68M||600/1,200||Optional/optional||600/1,000||65,000||$867 up|
|Tally Printer Corp. |
|T9116||16||125-MHz RISC, 4M to 68M||600/1,200||Optional/optional||550/650||75,000||$999|
|T9132||32||50-MHz RISC, 40M to 128M||600||Optional/optional||1,050/2,000||150,000||$3,495|
|T9140||40||50-MHz RISC, 40M to 128M||600||Optional/optional||1,050/2,000||200,000||$3,995|
|Xerox Corp. |
|DocuPrint N17b||17||Embedded, 16M to 104M||600/1,200||Optional/optional||350/1,350||65,000||$1,080|
|DocuPrint N17||17||Embedded, 16M to 104M||600/1,200||Optional/yes||350/1,350||65,000||$1,300|
|DocuPrint N24||24||Embedded, 24M to 128M||600||Optional/yes||1,000/3,550||100,000||$2,150|
|DocuPrint N32||32||Embedded, 24M to 128M||600||Optional/yes||1,000/3,550||150,000||$2,650|
|DocuPrint N40||40||Embedded, 24M to 128M||600||Optional/yes||1,000/3,550||200,000||$3,250|