SUMMARY: Suggestions on laser printers for a Sun network.

From: Dave Schoeller (schoelle@SCTC.COM)
Date: Fri Oct 04 1991 - 05:03:23 CDT

My Original question was:

>We have a growing network of Sun workstations, and our printing needs are
>quickly exceeding the capacity of Apple LaserWritersII's. I'd appreciate any
>suggestions on vendors of Postscript printers that have a much higher speed and
>duty cycle than your average 8ppm laser-printer.

Thanks to all who responded. Most of the suggestions centered around the
following four printers.

QMS 2000
QMS 2200
HP LaserJet IIIsi
Sun's SPARCprinter

Since the comments I received may be helpful to anyone else considering buying
a printer, I decided to include them as part of the summary.

We will probably go with the HP LaserJet IIIsi.

We have a QMS PS2210 attached to a Sun.  Its a 20ppm printer that handles
paper sizes up to B-size (11x17).  We got it because we needed a printer
that handled the larger paper, and this was an inexpensive choice.

I am not very satisfied with it. The printer has a hardware limitation that prevents it from printing in a 1/4 inch border around the entire page. It does not scale the page; it just blanks the outer 1/4 inch of the page. Other than that (if you can live with the border blanking), it prints very well.


We had reasonably good luck with the Ricoh-based 15ppm printers; the TI-2115 was the one we used. QMS also makes a model using the same engine, though I forget their model number. The write- white used gave very saturated blacks in printing.

We are currently evaluating the QMS 2000 ; it can either be driven in parallel from a centronics-type port on a host, or runs with ftpd on its ethernet interface; a put queues the job to print. The throughput seems to be living up to claims of about 20 ppm. The price tag is fairly high, though; it is targeted as a workhorse printer.


InfoWorld, a June Issue, had a review of lowend machines...some of which have 6,000 pages/month duty cycles and decent speed.

In our case we'll probably move from a TI OmniLaser 2115 to an HP III equipped with a Pacific Data XL board (we have an Adobe PostScript printer for final output). A new HP III costs us about the same as 2 years maitenance on the OmniLaser. I fully expect to wear the thing out in a year but it still comes out cheaper...I am worried about consumable costs though.


Sun's SPARCprinters are a very useful (and, at least for academic sites, cost only about half of what an Apple LWII+ costs). Even the QMS PostScript printers we'd been buying as cheaper alternatives to LWII's are more expensive and slower than the SPARCprinter. We have six so far, and two more on order (for our network of about 60 Sun workstations).

For decent performance, though, they need to run off of an SBus card on a SPARC system (and not incidentally, the workstation should have plenty of memory; everything is first converted to PostScript and then to raster--using OpenWindows or a stripped-down version thereof...and the dual conversion can eat a lot of memory). Another drawback is that drum cartridges are not as readily available, and thus still noticeably more expensive than the ubiquitious ones for LWII's.


We recently purchased an HPIIISi. The speed is great -- especially with pictures, etc.


Take a look at the HP LaserJet IIIsi. 17ppm, postscript option, even supports duplex (double sided) printing. (did I mention the large paper trays?) This is a monster! I have thusfar used mine on a network of PCs that produce large output rather nicely. As soon as we can budget one, I'm gonna throw one on a sun!


The QMS PS-2200 is a fast printer (around 20 ppm) and can be hooked on Ethernet. It can also do duplex printing. It looks quite interesting (but I haven't tried it).


The Sun SparcPrinter does fairly decent PostScript, althought it does have some minor bugs. The speed, however, is greatly dependant on the machine it's hooked up to. i.e., if it's served off a SPARC2 you get good performance. OK performance on a SPARC1.


We have found that the Sun SPARCprinter (SPRN-400) at $2,695 list is a very good unit for use on SPARCstations, especially if discounts are applicable. It is a 4 00 dpi, 12 ppm, PostScript box that installs easily, is accessible from anywhere on your net, and performs as advertised. We have 7 of them to serve nearly 200 p eople, and have had very few problems. I don't know whether or not they will w ork with a Sun 3, though. Good luck. Gene


We've been monitoring laser printer technology looking for a faster alternative than the II NTX. What _I_ want is a laserwriter which speaks EtherTalk -- the network connection is what seems to be the bottleneck. Rumor has it Apple will have something in Oct.

Everyone else we've looked at (Talaris, QMS, HP) doesn't speak Appletalk thru their Ethernet port -- which is monumentally stupid, IMHO.

These vendors claim higher performance, but don't deliver it with their postscript implementations -- at least not on our net.


I recommend that you check out the QMS-PS 2000, here is a description that I pull ed from a document:

The QMS-PS 2000 is a departmental laser print that can be used in a network environment. It has a simultaneous multi-input interface that supports, RS-232C serial, AppleTalk, Centronics or Daraproducts parallel, and Ethernet. QMS's ESP (Emulation Sensing Processor) senses incoming data and chooses the appropriate printer language. PostScript, HP-GL, LNO3, HP LaserJet Series II, and CCITT are recognized automatically.The print engine controller is a MIPS R3000 RISC processor operating at 25MHz with 8MB RAM and 4MB ROM. It prints 20 pages per minute and has a resolution of 300 x 300 dots per inch. It supports 8" x 11" and 11" x 17" size pages. Paper loading includes two cut sheet or transparency film 250-sheet cassettes for a total of 500 sheets. There is an optional paper handler that includes a duplexing unit and a 1,000-sheet feeder increasing the paper capacity to 1,500 sheets. The QMS-PS 2000 has a recommended duty cycle of 70, 000 prints per month. Optional items!

include, 8MB RAM, Ethernet interf

The fact that it can connection directly to the network and supports 11" x 17" size page are the major reason we like this printer. The performance is excellent over the network. The ESP sensing can get confused and not print a file in the proper format. It is expensive, 20K plus with all the options.


We have a similar need, and we are now looking to purchase an HP-III-Si laser printer. This machine, in its basic form, will do 17 ppm (not a LOT faster than 8ppm, but faster), and you can purchase options to make it do duplex printing (real duplex, like both sides of the page duplex), and of course, PostScript. It doesn't, by default, understand PostScript, but you can get a cartridge that makes it understand PostScript.

You can interface it to your equipment either via the (standard) serial/parallel port (clocks 19.2Kbaud on the serial port, don't know what the equivalent effective throughput for the parallel port would be), you can get an AppleTalk interface, and you can even get one of two different types of ethernet interfaces -- one which talks to Novell spoolers, and another 3Com interface. It was unclear to me what kind of protocols the 3Com interface spoke.

Sounds like you'd probably end up using the serial/parallel interface anyway.

This is all fresh in my mind because I just called about all of this yesterday. Try 1-800-752-0900 for more info (that's HP's touch-tone based general information number -- I forget the specific number I ended up at).


Check out the very new HP LJIII Si. 17PPM, 50,000 pages per month duty cycle, and about $5K list. Also available are postscript, ethernet and duplex options. We're probably going to buy a few.


I am a SPARCprinter user, and very satisfied. The SPARCprinter can only be used with Sun's printer card (SBus-based) and NeWSprint. With this printer i get 8-9 ppm from the Frame demo document (rather complex) on a SS-IPC. Pure text files are faster. You can tune the speed of NeWSprint in various ways. Most of them demand more memory, or the NeWSprint-host will start swapping a lot.

1) Allow NeWSprint to preprocess more pages. This will allocate more disk space to NeWSprint.

2) Put the imaging directory in tmpfs. Improves speed, but my 12Mb machine is almost useless for a few seconds each time i print due to swapping.


In the last issue of Unix World I saw an ad for the new QMS postscript laser printer which has a capacity of 70 pages per min. I have not seen this specific printer, but I know that their smaller printers are of good quality. Hope this helps.


I can mention the HP Laserjet IIIsi at 16-18ppm is really good stuff. Its fast reliable ( no paer jams to date) We have two and the workload they get through is amazing. They also do Postscript and have dual 500 sheet trays Good stuff !!!



QMS, Inc One Magnum Pass Mobile, AL 36618 (800) 631-2692

If you _really_ want a killer printer, ask about the PS-2000 ... has a MIPS R3000, attaches directly to your Ethernet, does up to 11x17, duty cycle of up to 70,000 prints/month, 20 pages/min {ain't cheap, either}.


we dealt with this question several months ago.

1) suggest you stick with postscript printers only. WE have selected to use HP laserjet III series or QMS printers. There is a wide selection from both companies and a large installed base.

2) Dont use the sparcprinter. this requires a marking engine to run on the sun. Currently on sun and next have such an engine making the use of non-postscript printers unfavorable. If you use postscript printers then you can move them to any system for pc to mainframe and talk to them.

3) you are probably familiar with the transcript package used to format data into the postscript language to send to the printer. You can by a site source license for this product for 3000.00 from adobe. If you dont do this you have to buy the drivers in object form, one copy per host you have a printer on. We found this cost to be 800.00 to 2000.00 per copy. Thus you can justify the cost of the license for as few as 4 printers.

BTW; transcript 3.0 has just been release and has several nice filters and is much more robust.


> We recently received an HP LaserJet IIIsi (rated to 17ppm) that we're > driving serially at 38.4 from a SS2. It is *very* fast. Would be almost > scary when/if we get a parallel interface! > > Also support dual (large) paper trays, duplex printing (w/option), and > doesn't require any maintenance until 200,000 pages! > We (of course) ordered the Postscript option w/6 Megs of RAM total and > are happy so far.


Thanks the following for there input. beauchem@DMI.USherb.CA paul@hydres.uucp


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:06:18 CDT