What's a good monochrome laser printer for Mac?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Lee Scoggins, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Sadly, it turns out that my LaserJet 5 which is awesome is not Postscript enabled so I need to find a cheap (ideally
     
  2. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer
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    You will find that several manufactures, (HP, Lexmark, and so on) have good mono products in that price range.

    While I know it is a little over your stated price range you'll also find that several also have good color lasers in the 500 to 700 dollar range. So if your color printing needs are not photographs you may want to consider stretching your budge just a little and get one of those since it would handle both your monochrome and color needs.
     
  3. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    The problem with color lasers is the print cartridge replacement is really high.
     
  4. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer
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    When it comes to the cost of printing you need to focus on cost per page and not the price of the cartridges. Certainly ink cartridges are cheaper then laser toner cartridges but their yield is far less thus costing more per actual page printed. So in the end you will find that lasers are much more economical to operator then ink base printers.

    Again I'll stress that if your color printing needs are towards photos stay away from laser and go with ink. If your color needs are for business purposes, charts, graphs etc, then you should definitely go with a laser printer.
     
  5. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I agree-that is how I always analyze it, nevertheless color laser is still too expensive for me. Take the HP 2500, uses three color cartridges at I think about $75-80 per drum. Ouch!

    I will do it later more than likely but I just sunk $2K into my iMac. [​IMG]
     
  6. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    You can't convert your documents to PDF within OS X and print them that way? The LaserJet shouldn't have a problem with PDF.
     
  7. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer
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    Not sure about Mac OS but don’t you need to have a copy of Acrobat in order to convert the documents? Also sometimes certain documents just look better when printed from their native program.
     
  8. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Creating PDFs is free and included in OS X (more evidence that XP sucks) but the problem is that you still need a Postscript to print directly. I can convert a LaserJet 5 to a 5M with a $25 simm card from ebay which is what I am now doing. The LaserJet I have is a classic and they literally don't make them this well anymore.

    Also, the $64 cable I bought from CompUSA is $3 on ebay. What a heist it is to pay full retail now.
     
  9. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    I bought a HP LaserJet 1012 in August and I'm very pleased with it. However, I've heard that if you try to print more than 50 pages at a time, it'll overheat and shut down or something like that. I haven't needed to print so many pages at once yet, so I haven't had that problem.
     
  10. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    hmm. Laserjet Lagacy, a macosx 10.1 driver for laserjet 5 series, claims that it's not required for either 10.2 or 10.3.

    Apparently, thats because 10.2 and 10.3 have this nifty utility called CUPS. Unfortunately, CUPS is sometimes associated with an awful interfaces and is not always easy to configure.
     
  11. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I think if you don't have JetDirect you have to have postscript but I think I will look into it further....

    Thanks Jeremy! Very valuable links! [​IMG]
     
  12. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Strange, Lee. PDF is a variant of PostScript, true, but I've never had any problem printing PDF files to a non-PostScript laser printer.

    You could also repurpose your old Windows box as a print server, network it to the Mac, and print through that. No guarantees that it will work through XP Home, though. [​IMG]
     
  13. Glenn

    Glenn Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Lee,

    How about a Brother HL-1440? I have one and it works with both Macs and Windows. You can usually find them for around $100 with rebates available. I don't see it listed this week in any deals though. I also think that model is discontinued and a newer model is available. I think it's replacement is the HL-5140.

    Check out www.dealmac.com for all kinds of Mac deals and some great info in their forum.

    Glenn
     
  14. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    The nitty gritty:
    MacOSX uses a variant of PDF, called Quartz, to display, composite, and transform images. Similarly, Windows has its own display API, called (I believe), GDI.

    A printer driver translates GDI, or Quartz, or Quickdraw into commands the printer can understand. An expensive printer might understand Postscript, so the printer driver would translate the GDI, or Quartz, or Quickdraw into a postscript program. The printer would then run the postscript program, and generate an internal raster (a high resolution bitmap image), which would then be printed.

    A cheap printer might not understand any kind of high level language, and therefore the printer diver would have to send it pre generated rasters, which the printer would then print.

    When the Windows version of Acrobat is run, Acrobat unpacks the pdf, parses it, and then translates it into graphics commands (GDI), and Windows displays the resulting image on screen. When it comes time to print, Acrobat has the printer driver translate the GDI commands back into data the printer can understand.

    When the Mac version of Acrobat is run, Acrobat unpacks the pdf, parses it, and then translates it into graphics commands (Quartz), and MacOSX displays the resulting image on screen. In this case, however, the translation step is much more straightforward. When it comes time to print, Acrobat has the printer driver translate the Quartz commands back into data the printer can understand.

    The printer driver architecture used on MacOSX is called CUPS-- The Common Unix Printer System. It just so happens that much of CUPS is based around Postscript, and therefore, if you happen to have a printer that understands "Postscript Level 2" you're in luck. CUPS will simply send the postscript program to the printer.

    If not, CUPS will use a special program, called a "filter" to render, or translate the postscript program into a raster file, PCL, or what have you. The ability to print depends on the existence of an appropriate "filter". Filters for dozens and dozens of printer brands exist, and most people don't really have to worry about the details. Sometimes, the hardest part is finding the appropriate physical interface cable, as Macs don't have parallel ports.
     

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