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A new phase of laser printers

A new phase of laser printers

It's not enough to have the latest workstation or PC. Engineers also need cutting edge peripherals. With each company offering a range of machines, choosing the right printer is all about finding the best balance of accuracy, price, and speed. Here's a roundup of the latest in printers.

The Xerox Phaser(R)790 is a tabloid color laser printer that was designed to beat the pants off its predecessor, the 780. "It's very, very accurate in color and positioning," says product marketing manager Brent Deuth. "We designed it for image-intensive users, like those in graphic arts, publishing, advertising, and technical drawing."

The 790 prints at 6 color pages or 26 black-and-white per minute, compared to the 780's rate of 4 color or 16 black-and-white. And it puts the first page out in 26 sec., compared to the 780's speed of 42 sec. It achieves those performance gains by using a faster chip (an Intel 266MHz compared to the 780's 133MHz), faster networking, and a larger hard drive (up to 8GB from 4.5).

And it offers duplexing (printing on both sides of a page), which the 780 did not. That's possible because the 790 uses an oil-less fusing process, where it prints four times (once for each color layer) onto a wet web, and then onto the page, Deuth says. Its predecessor couldn't duplex, since it used an oil-based fusing process.

The best of black and white

Also new from Xerox is the Phaser(R)1235 color printer, a single-pass, LED machine that is three times faster than its 1200 dpi color laser competitors, the company claims. It prints 12 color pages or 20 black-and-whites per minute, with the first page out in just 18 sec. The machine comes with a 366MHz Pentium processor, and with 64MB RAM standard, expandable to 512MB.

Xerox attributes some its technological leap forward to its January, 2000 acquisition of Tektronix' Color Printing and Imaging Division, says Gerry Perkel, former president of that division and now president of Xerox Office Printing Business. He calls the Phaser 1235 "the first color laser-quality printer with black-and-white speed and reliability."

A SOHO pro

From Minolta-QMS comes the PagePro(TM)1100L laser printer. Along with its cousin, the model 1100, it prints at 10 pages per minute, uses an IEEE 1284 parallel interface, and supports page sizes up to 81/2x14 inches. The 1100L offers 600x600 dpi resolution, while the 1100 produces 1200x600 dpi, offers an optional Ethernet interface, and is optimized for multi-user, small office/home office use.

A triple threat for the Web age

Oceproduces the 9000 series, including the 9300, positioned as a low-volume, high speed, plain paper LED printer. The 9400-II is a mid-volume scanner/printer/

copier designed to offer fast processing of complex files for printing and scan-to-file applications. And the 9600 is a high-volume system that accommodates printing from CAD programs, and offers real-time scan-to-Web functionality and digital storage for engineering and architectural drawings. It can also support decentralized printing, copying, and scanning.

Printing at jet speed

Hewlett Packard offers the DesignJet 500, 800, and 5,000 series. The 5,000 is available in 42- and 60-inch models, and can crank out pages at 569 square feet per hour, with 1200x600 dpi resolution. It offers six-color printing, and uses HP's color-layering technology, which puts multiple drops of ink on a single dot to create a wider range of colors.

The 500/800 series includes the 500, 500PS, 800, and 800PS, each of which comes in 24- or 42-inch sizes, and also offers color-layering, and ranges to 1200 dpi for the 500s or 2400 dpi for the 800s. The 800s come with an onboard computer featuring 96MB RAM, 6GB hard disk, and networking. The 500 and 800 are designed for architects, engineers, construction designers, and mechanical engineers, while the 500PS and 800PS are designed for graphics professionals.

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