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Printer The Almighty Buck

Laser Printing Without the Hassles? 128

Posted by Cliff
from the avoiding-the-lockin-strategies dept.
yeremein asks: "After yet another black ink cartridge has fizzled out, I've decided that it's time to stop giving money to a known DMCA abuser and buy a new printer. Since I'm fed up with the clogged jets and drifting print head misalignment, not to mention the exorbitant cost of ink cartridges, I'd like to go with a laser printer this time around. It doesn't have to be a high duty cycle one, since it's for home use and I only print maybe 100 pages per month. And black only is fine. Any suggestions for an inexpensive laser that is Linux friendly, and does not employ any 'smart chip' technology that would prevent the toner cartridge from being refilled or cause it to 'expire' and stop working at a certain date regardless of the toner level?"
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Laser Printing Without the Hassles?

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  • No hassles (Score:3, Funny)

    by AtariAmarok (451306) on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:32PM (#7832005)
    I've come to accept the burnt holes in the walls and the loss of retinal cells as a result of using lasers for printing. Perhaps there is a better way, laser printing without the hassle!
  • Samsung 1710 or 1750 (Score:5, Informative)

    by dcstimm (556797) on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:36PM (#7832025) Homepage
    They can be found for $150 and $250, they have no smart chips, they are fast and they work with Linux, Mac, oh an Windows. It even says Linux compatable on the box and it comes with linux drivers on the cd! (which are opensource).. I would also think the latest cheap HP laser would be a good choice too.
    • Or even better, find an old HP LaserJet 4 or 5 at you local county auction, you can usually pick one up for about $5, with a toner cartridge in it. Other than that, try pricewatch for used printers, as long as it is a quality printer, you should have no problems with reliability.
      • by shaitand (626655)
        The 5l's or 6l's have a known issue with the pickup rollers wearing out CONSTANTLY. This is an issue on home printers which should last damn near forever on one toner and maintaince kit.

        There are cheapy little pads you can buy that are supposed to "fix" this issue but they can cause more problems then they fix. The replacement rollers which are supposed to resolve the issue from HP doesn't work and still need replaced on very frequent basis.

        A good laserjet 3 is probably a better choice, granted it's the
        • I agree, which is why I didn't say the "L" models, just a simple LaserJet 4 or 5. Even a 4MP would work, but they never seemed as solid to me as the 4/5s... They're bulky, but built to last, and have great quality print.

          As for the 4100, we've had some problems with toner leakage on them (toner ends up all over the fuser after about 5,000 pages), so watch your pages.
  • Samsung (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bruha (412869) on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:37PM (#7832028) Homepage Journal
    For less than 100 Dollars a Samsung ML-1710 should do the trick for you.. Sold at most compusa's, best buy's, or Fry's.

    I've had one for almost a year and it's still running great.. Even under Linux using the foomatic Samsung 4500 drivers.

    • weird, we thought of the same printer...
    • Re:Samsung (Score:2, Informative)

      by Geam (30459)
      I second the Samsung ML-1710. I've had mine for a couple months and only print only a couple times a week. The quality of the output is great, the setup was easy (USB), and -- after the warm-up -- the pages do come out at 17ppm as promised.

      The only downfall I found was the manual feed slot. The pages don't always pull in evenly and crumple one of the corners. Adding the page to the top of the tray resolves this problem. Also, I can't get envelopes to go through properly so I use labels instead.

      This model
    • Is there a wrapper for Windows printer drivers like the Linuxant wrapper for NDIS 5 drivers? If so, the Minolta PagePro 1250W is a very good choice. I've got one, and I'm sharing an adaptor made with GhostScript and GSPrint, and pushing it through Samba to my Linux laptop. Works fairly well, too.
  • A used HP Laserjet (Score:4, Informative)

    by duffbeer703 (177751) * on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:38PM (#7832033)
    Look for a LJ 4/5 'M' model. These printers support Postscript 2 and are ideal for any unix.
    • I'll vouch for the 4MP. Great printer, cost me $10 at a garage sale. I didn't even care if it worked for that price. It's been a year and a half and I haven't replaced the printer cartridge yet. Screaming deal of the century.
    • I'll agree, I bought an HP 5MP back when it was new, I don't think I've ever replaced the toner cart. Man they had high capacity carts in those days. But AFAIK the M models are primarily for macs, they have Appletalk added, but still have a parallel port. I added an HP DirectJet ethernet adapter, it can do LPR printing or any other Ethernet protocol you like. I've used it on various Linux and Mac systems for more than a decade, it's a great printer. And you can't beat real PostScript. The new HPs all use fa
      • You are correct, the 'M' models are targeted at Macs, but as a rule of thumb Mac laserjets are postscript printers. (You could buy a postscript card for a non-postscript printer as well.) I think this is because the Apple Laserwriters were postscript printers, and mac applications expected PS to be there.

        The other big advantage to buying vintage HP is that IBM, Xerox and others actually manufacture their own 3rd party toner cartridges, so if you ever need to buy new toner (unlikely at home), it's cheap.
        • yeah, gotta have real PostScript. But actually, the old "vintage" HP carts are all made by Canon (I noted this elsewhere in this discussion). IBM, HP, etc, all just slapped their labels on the carts. This is actually a good thing since the carts are ubiquitous and cheap, and Canon technology was excellent. It was actually TOO good, which lead to the aftermarket for cart refills, there was usually a lot of life left in the selenium target roller even after the toner ran out.
          On the other hand, the Canon Perso
          • yeah they were too good, on some of the old hp printers the postscript was actually significantly faster than the native pcl of the printer!
            • Depends on what you were doing. Nothing beat PCL for plain old text files, but it was a bitch to do graphics, especially on Macs. You could get software to convert QuickDraw to PCL but it ran on the Mac as a driver and it sucked bad. IIRC you had to bump up the printer RAM just to buffer the image before printing.
              Actually, come to think of it, there IS one printer that could beat an LJ1 on text files, back in the day. I used to sell NEC Spinwriters, they could often beat a Laser when you had documents that
              • Nothing beat PCL for plain old text files

                Not at all. I used to use a PS laser with Wordstar 5 (DOS), printing mainly in Courier and occasionally Times for my faxes and such. Very simple and fast. I could also incorporate the letterhead in the page with a single code in the header to include an EPS file.

                That wouldn't have justified the extra expense of PS, but I needed it for DTP as well.

            • yeah they were too good, on some of the old hp printers the postscript was actually significantly faster than the native pcl of the printer!

              A postscript page of text, if it uses one of the fonts already in printer ROM, can be 20k or less. But if it's rasterised to PCL it's basically a single bitmap of about 1 MB (at 300 dpi -- for 600 dpi 4 MB), and PS is mostly resolution independent. So just sending the file to the printer takes much longer. You can use a font downloader to make any PS font resident in

    • by MarcQuadra (129430) * on Monday December 29, 2003 @11:58PM (#7832733)
      Those things have NO regard for electric use, BTW. And cats will LOVE nesting in them while you're at work because they're always warm.

      And NEVER plug a laser printer into any setup with a UPS invloved, they draw way too much juice while printing and can easily overload the UPS.
      • by toast0 (63707) <slashdotinducedspam@enslaves.us> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @01:44AM (#7833121) Homepage
        Why would you plug a printer into a ups anyhow?

        When was the last time the power went out, and you thought 'hey... i wish i had printed out that thing i was working on, so i could read it in the dark'?

        Seriously, if you get a UPS, you should only plug the stuff you need to stay on for a little bit longer into it.
        • Heh.... By accident!

          When I was untangling cords, I accidentally plugged my LaserJet 4050TN into my little UPS instead of my computer. The power switch on the printer was on, and the UPS lasted slightly less than a second... Made a cool noise too!
        • I too plugged mine in by accident. I got two cheap-o 1000VA UPS units a year ago, plugged them in inside a cabinet and put some six-outlet adapters coming out of them. After I plugged my printer in and blew out the whole rig when trying to print I had to run a 'special' unprotected cable to my computer area.
      • And cats will LOVE nesting in them while you're at work because they're always warm.

        I have an Apple LW 630. There's a mouse loose in the area (thanks to the cat for bringing it in live to play with) and more than once it has nested in the (powered off) paper tray. Seems there's a hole in the back of the paper tray where the mouse could get in when the paper tray was nearly empty. Apparently when I turned on the printer, I scared the mouse, so I got a nice yellow stain on the top three or four sheets. T

  • HP LaserJet (Score:3, Informative)

    by justanyone (308934) on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:39PM (#7832039) Homepage Journal
    My wife brought an HP [compaq.com] LaserJet 6P into my life and it works fine with my Linux box (Redhat 7 onwards).

    It's been very reliable and we haven't changed toner in about 2 years. Of course, we don't print that much.

    They have 3 printers priced at $200, $400, and $600, information is here. [hp.com]
    • Re:HP LaserJet (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zocalo (252965) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:37PM (#7832351) Homepage
      Seconded on the HPs; both the printers and the drivers are rock solid. I've got a LaserJet 6L which has been going strong for six years now and is on its third toner cartridge and due another RSN. I have it on a network print server and it's been just fine printing with Red Hat from v6.1 onwards using LPRng and now CUPS with v9.0, no PostScript, but the Linux drivers handle that just fine too.

      It's just starting to have some problems with the paperfeed though, occasionally pulling several sheets of paper through at a time (successfully I might add!). And that's another thing about HPs; when they actually do jam you very seldom have any problems getting the paper out, you can usually pretty much expose the entire paper path by flipping the lid and removing the cartridge. I'm actually kind of sad to see it failing because it's served me that well, so I'll definately be getting another HP laser to replace it. The big question for me is whether or not to go colour...

      • You don't need to retire this printer; I have the same model, same age, also on the third toner cartridge, and it also started feeding multiple sheets. fixyourownprinter.com is your friend here: for 29.99 USD they will sell you a simple to install kit that fixes the problem. It worked for me!
      • Re:HP LaserJet (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sabriel (134364) on Monday December 29, 2003 @11:06PM (#7832488)
        Some of the older HP printers develop the multiple sheets problem, and HP was offering a free repair kit for certain models (dunno if it's still available - if not another reply mentioned a site where you can buy a fix for your model I believe).
        • Looks like HP stopped the program on Oct 31, 03. I picked up a kit for free, from HP, last year and it solved my problem. I see some auctions on eBay for kits right now - 3448949602 and 3448998429 are a couple.

          HP's kit is just a "patch" really. The real fix is to buy a new seperation pad and pick up roller.

          Lawsuit page. [young-america.com]
  • Samsung has a nice line of laser printers. They are cheap (I got mine for $120), have linux support, and work very well. Not to mention the cartridges are cheap ($50 for a 3000 page one) and refillable (look on ebay). I owned an ML-1210 for over a year now, prints beautifully, not a single paper jam yet.
  • I use a Samsung ML-1210 hooked into cups on an OpenBSD box that serves print to Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Really great driver support in UNIX. You can copy the cups ppd files to any other NIX and use them there.
    • Second! I have an ML-1210 and it works great with my Red Hat box. It was even a menu pick from the RH9 printer configuration tool!

      (With Red Hat 7 I needed Samsung's special Ghostscript)

  • HP LasterJet II (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RealityMogul (663835) on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:43PM (#7832061)
    Bought it at a yard sale for $15. Worked fine for 3 years, using the same cartridge that was in it when I bought it.

    Just shows Error 50 now though and has been retired to the attic. The things are tanks though. It's gotta be 50 pounds. It's kinda like an IBM XT case.

    Much better than the current crop of HP printers in my opinion. We use the 4400s at the office, and they're ok, but the speed isn't any better and the increased resolution isn't a big deal for text. But they start reading "low toner" 3 weeks after a new cartridge is put in though, even though they'll last for 6 months after that warning first shows up. A little suspicious.
    • If your 4400 at work is as slow as a Laserjet II.

      • Yes, I would agree with that. My comparison isn't really fair. Don't anybody laugh too hard, the network was already setup this way when I started at this place and I have no control over it.

        To get from my machine to the printer, which is about 20 feet away, I end up going through three 4-port hubs, and one 16-port hub. The 16-port is also hooked to another 32-port hub.

        Printing a large document takes down the network.
    • Re:HP LasterJet II (Score:2, Informative)

      by bigenchilada (257160)
      You can fix that error 50 problem yourself. Check out the HP repair kits at:
      http://www.fixyourownprinter.com/kka3.html
      $ 69.95 gets the printer back in business.
      And as you said, the HPs of that vintage were built like tanks and last seemingly forever.
      • Re:HP LasterJet II (Score:2, Informative)

        by ShawnD (21638)

        You can replace the blown traic on the AC module for a lot less (I think I paid about $5 for the part). Just use an NTE generic replacement. Also, put a larger heat sink on it.

        I think you can find details using google groups on sci.electronic.repair

      • Yep, a guy I know used to run a side business, he'd buy up used HP LJII and III printers and refurbish them and sell them for good money. Most of them needed nothing more than routine cleaning, although a lot of the more heavily-used printers would grab multiple sheets instead of one sheet, so those models needed a "spring retensioner" kit. It's very simple to refurbish those printers, since most of the hardest-working parts were in the replaceable toner carts. If the electronics worked OK, the mechanical s
        • Yep. unlike modern HP's all but one of the gears on the HP LJIII Plus are metal, I know because I repaired one with 1.3 million pages on it where the plastic gear had developed plastic rot. It was a bit annoying to get to but it's been almost 4 years since that repair and the machine hasn't needed any additional servicing =)
    • Funny... I bought the same printer used the other year, and it worked briefly, but one of the gears had a bald spot on it that got worse, to the point where it would always paper jam. Sigh. Just threw the thing out two weeks ago. Damned heavy beast of a machine. Crappy quality, too, compared to my very low-end HP Deskjets.
    • I'll second that on the LJII/III series - they're tanks. Get one on eBay, from a seller local to you to avoid shipping hassles. They're easy to fix, and with proper maintenance will outlast the owner... and like the VW bug, they're so ubiquitous that you'll always be able to find parts online cheaply. (disclaimer: I used to fix printers for a living, especially HPs, and currently own an LJ2 along with a boxful of spares in the closet from my old job...)

      In general, older printers are great values. Even
    • I'm still using an old Laserjet 6MP connected to a localtalk bridge. The only time it did not work was when I mistakenly disconnected the localtalk transmitter. I have been using this thing for years (since around 1995), and there was never a hitch.

      At the office, we have an HP 4100 printer, and it is much less stable. Some postscript jobs crash the whole printer, including the network server, needing a full reboot. It seems HP does not build its printers like it used to :-)

      One thing I recommend if you a

    • The LaserJet Series II is a ghastly slow behemoth. It has no vector drawing capabilities.

      This makes printing anything other than plain (ASCII) text a process best measured in minutes-per-page, as everything else gets sent to the machine as a huge bitmapped graphic. No vectors=no scalable text=(agony+pain).

      If you're printing in Wordperfect 4.2 under DOS, you'll find that it's quite fast. With any modern system, it's horrible. Especially with Ghostscript.

      Don't bother with one unless it's free, or yo
  • HP LaserJet (Score:5, Informative)

    by adb (31105) on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:46PM (#7832082)
    Every time I've tried something else, for myself or the company I work for, I've regretted it. Inkjets are slow and expensive per page, Lexmark lasers are flaky and expensive per page (because there are a dozen different things that can run out besides ink, and Lexmark has a monopoly on all of them). HP stuff always Just Works, and there's a large third-party toner market. If you're up to spending $650, buy a 2300it's absurdly fast. Alternately, used LJ4*s are cheap (like $50 cheap) and ubiquitous on eBay; just make sure you pick up some spare parts, too. (The roller thingies tend to die after a while.)
    • Re:HP LaserJet (Score:4, Informative)

      by JLester (9518) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:58PM (#7832446)
      Stay away from any of the "L" models like 4L, 5L, 6L, etc. Their paper path is terrible and prone to misfeeds. The M and P models are great.

      Jason
      • Yeah, HP makes better printer hardware than anybody. Alas, their software people are total idiots. I've had printer features stop working because driver updates were issued with an incorrect feature/model table. And if you make the slightest mistake installing a driver (and maybe even if you don't) you end up with some weird version localized for Croation-speaking Fijians.
      • Some printers now sold under the HP brand started life as Compaq crap.
      • When I use HP printers, I send them raw PostScript over the network from Unix machines and use the PostScript "driver" on Windows machines. Never had a problem. PCL caused some pain on the Lexmark C720 (note to Lexmark: black, brown, and purple are different colors), and I've never seen the need to try it on any of the HPs. Some printers now sold under the HP brand started life as Compaq crap. LaserJets, though? It would be easy to see them doing that with inkjets, which live in a crap-saturated marke
        • Well, they also used to have an excellent reputation for high-quality inkjets, a technology they (literally) invented. Which has been spoiled by such stinkers as the 3320.

          Current HP management thinks that "reputation" is just another word for "good branding".

  • I've been wanting to leave inkjet and go to laser soon as well, but I'd like to check out the cost savings first. Anyone have any good data on cost per page for inkjet printers vs. laser? Toner cartridges nicely provide an estimate of the number of pages they're good for but I haven't seen anything like that for inkjet.
    • Comments with Ask Slashdot
    • Re:Cost per page (Score:5, Informative)

      by Txiasaeia (581598) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:18PM (#7832266)
      My HP 842C (840 series) printer's black ink replacement cartridge is rated 450-500 pages; cost is $40 CAD. The Samsung ML1710's cartridge (includes drum) is rated for 3000 pages, cost $100 CAD. You do the math.

    • cost per page for inkjet printers vs. laser

      This MacWorld article [macworld.com] discusses the costs. Basically, lasers cost 3-4 cents per page, inkjets 5-10 cents (black only).

    • Anyone have any good data on cost per page for inkjet printers vs. laser?

      A member of our IT department did a report on exactly this about a year ago. I don't have the report with me, but I can dig up details if required. The laser printers we evaluated were high-end workgroup printers and we took all costs into consideration (initial investment, rollers, maintenance kits, labor (whether we have an in-house technician or contract out the maintenance)).

      We also used more realistic estimates on toner

      • Thanks for the detailed response. Yeah, I figured the difference between a personal inkjet and a personal laser wouldn't be as drastic as everyone makes them out to be but as you said it sounds like the savings are still enough to make laser worthwhile.
    • HP's site has been updated since I last looked and now offers estimated number of pages per ink cartridge to compare against toner cartridges.
  • short answer: any postscript printer should work just fine. longer answer: i've had my lexmark optra e 310 for nearly five years now, printing several hundred pages per month and i've had to change the toner exactly once. bonus: toner and imaging drum are all in one package, so it still prints as beautifully today as it did when i first bought it. yes, i know we all hate lexmark, but at least take a look at the optra e 220 or e 321.
    • by yog (19073)
      How is the paper handling on your E310? My Optra E312 is prone to jams and multi-feeds. Lexmark tech support denies it's a problem and will supply a long document on how to properly feed paper, what kind of paper to use, how to tighten the guides and then loosen them to the exact paper width, not to ever add an extra sheet to an existing stack, don't use used paper, etc. In fact it comes off as one long excuse for their sucky paper feed mechanism.

      The only real solution I have found is to feed one page at
  • Look for used HP printer. Ours is a 5P which just goes and goes and goes. It's probably the one bit of technology here that hasn't been upgraded, replaced, or even cleaned in the last five years. Needless to say, every OS since the C64 seems to support it out of the box.
  • I don't think they sell the HL-1240 any more, but you could get a comparable model. I'm not sure what retail price is on these because I got it at a garage sale, but it's a good printer. Works fine with CUPS and lprNG, and the toner cartridges last for a while. I don't refill cartridges, but it looks like the stuff is available to do so.
    • I have been using a Brother HL-1250 since 2000 and it is fantastic. I bought it to print many copies of a 150 page thesis using Latex on Linux, and it cost me UKP240 at the time. I have only had to give it new toner once, in August this year.

      My experience of Brother printers is that they are rock solid, dependable, and worth buying. Just don't buy a winprinter.
  • Hi Jeremy,

    I would recommend an HP LaserJet.

    I bought a new HP LaserJet IIP+ with a postscript cartridge and four megabytes of RAM in 1992. It cost me a small fortune, and I have never regretted it.

    If you are a patient fellow, and can accept that something isn't brand new, then you may want to look for a used HP LaserJet online or in your local second-hand computer shops.

  • I bought a laser printer for home last week. I already have two inkjet printers at home but they suck.

    This is the one I bought from local Bestbuy:

    Samsung SCX-4016 [samsungusa.com].

    It lists at about $280 with $ 70 mail in rebate. I paid only 250 for open box buy. With mail-in-rebate, it's a good price for a laser printer!!

    I love it so far. Print quality is good. Though you have to set it to dark while printing in photo mode...
    Best value for money I could find...
  • Simple (Score:4, Informative)

    by NanoGator (522640) on Monday December 29, 2003 @10:21PM (#7832279) Homepage Journal
    Brother HL-1440, and a $20'ish memory upgrade from crucial.com. I can personally vouch for the printer, even bought one as a present for my dad, no complaints from him either.

    I do a lot of graphics printing on them, not as much text. Not sure how that translates to pages per month, but I can tell ya I'm well beyond several ink cartridges from my old inkjet.
    • I've used an HL1440 and HL1450 and they do seem to be reliable and work well with Linux (the only thing I wish they supported is postscript but it's no big deal and they do PCL emulation).

      HP's Laserjet 4 is what I would pick up second hand. Those things are like tanks and I'm sure they last for decades. Stay away from HP's Laserjet 5 (you feed the sheet in the top) as the one's I've seen always wind up being nothing but trouble after a few months (stop picking up paper, jamming etc). I'm also less impresse
    • Brothers older model 760 performs like a charm too.
  • It's a tank. You can't kill it. Send me an email and I'll sell you one cheap. I get better than two years per toner cartridge. Shipping will cost you more than the printer is worth though...
    • That's what I've got (with a memory upgrade to do an entire page!) but the speed is what will kill you. If you're rasterizing postscript output, expect up to a couple minutes per page.

      ASCII comes out nice and fast.
  • I just bought a Brother HL-5040 [officemax.com]. linuxprinting.org [linuxprinting.org] gives it a "works perfectly" rating, it's fast, it's quiet, it has expandable memory using a standard SDRAM DIMM... The toner is cheaper than Samsung's if you use the extended capacity cartridges.

    I searched for "OfficeMax coupons" on google and found a $30 off rebate deal + free shipping from a local store, and it cost me less than $200 after rebates. So far it's all good - just a satisifed customer, as they say.
  • Ebay (Score:2, Informative)

    by Hungus (585181)
    I recently purchased a LaserJet 4M for $50 on ebay 75 with shipping 600 DPI and you will most likely never reach its duty cycle for a month in the time you use it. Like teh poster on the HP III said this line is bullet proof. Want the ultimate Bulletproof Laser printer? Lok for a Laserwriter II NT its slow but you could use it for an anchor drop it out of a plane hook it up and it would most likely still run just fine :)
    • You want bulletproof? Find an Apple Laserwriter. Yeah, the ORIGINAL Postscript laser printer. It's the only laser printer I know with "corner feed," you can print on business cards. Any other printer will jam on business card size paper. The Original LW had a serial port, it's easy to hook up if you're good with wiring your own serial cables.

      Anyway, note the one thing that all the highly recommended printers have in common: the mechanism is made by Canon. Canon made the carts and mechanisms for Apple Laser
    • Geesh, are you too '1337' to write properly, or just the sad product of years of public (that's the state-funded ones for you UK readers) schools?

      -1, Retarded
  • I consistently hear HP, Samsung, and Brother recommended for personal lasers. I don't have any experience with HP or Samsung personal lasers, but I have a Brother HL-1440 which has worked very well for me (though I do sometimes wish I'd gotten the next model up with postscript emulation, or maybe even a model with auto duplex).
  • by timothy (36799) on Monday December 29, 2003 @11:12PM (#7832517) Homepage Journal
    If you don't do much printing (like me), even a low-budget b/w laser printer is going to last a long time. Samsung makes several cheap-n-cheerful compact lasers that even come with a little penguin on the box. Watch sites like techbargains; recently some merchant had Samsung 1700 b/w lasers for $70 (after rebate) *shipped*. Not bad.

    DMCA or not, I've been happy with my Lexmark E210, nicely Linux supported and (since I print little) still on its first cart. after 1.5 years ...

    timothy

  • LaserJet 1300 (Score:3, Informative)

    by yancey (136972) on Monday December 29, 2003 @11:17PM (#7832541)
    I'll recommend the HP LaserJet 1300 which supports PostScript Level 2 for all your Linux printing needs and which you can find for as little as $350 on PriceWatch [pricewatch.com].
    • Re:LaserJet 1300 (Score:2, Interesting)

      by trmatthe (311613)
      Seconded. I bought one of these a few months back and they are smashing. It is super quick printing, has USB and an EIO (comes with parallel adapter plugin, but you can buy Ethernet) and the initial cart seems good for a few thousand pages.

      Did have an LJ4+, but it was causing the house to subside.

      Tim
  • by bluGill (862) on Monday December 29, 2003 @11:21PM (#7832561)

    See subject.

    Okay, it is a generalization, so you can find exceptions. However that should be your guide. There is no reason and old eBay laser printer can't work for years to come with only toner replacements. Slow, but only compared to modern lasers, what is your hurry at home?

    Inkjets are generally disposable. For as little as I print, a inkjet would have to be replaced every time I wanted to printer. My laser (which I got used for almost nothing) should last for years. Unfortunatly you never know, I said the same thing about my last laser printer and it no longer works. However used they are cheap enough that you can afford a lemon, and breaks are rare enough that you are unlikely to get two lemons.

    Inkjets are still good for color. If you demand the best color, I've seen cheap inkjets that come out on top when compared to $50,000 color printers (when compared to a pantone standard after an expert adjusted the expensive printer for that color sample!). Most of us do not need that level of abilities in color, and if you do there is probably a reason to get the epensive color printer anyway. Still something to consider if you need color.

    Postscript is in theory better than PCL, but Ghostscript does an excellent job in the real world, and not all printers have postscript that is up to standards. (but in most cases it it either real postscript, or an older version of ghoscript, so you can't really go wrong) Don't worry too much about it, but if all else is equal prefer postscript.

    One warning, laser printers do need a lot of power, prefer one with an automatic power saving mode, otherwise you will want to turn it off after each use.

  • Brother 1440 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tomah4wk (553503) <tb100@NOSpAM.doc.ic.ac.uk> on Monday December 29, 2003 @11:29PM (#7832608) Homepage
    This printer is absolutely amasing. You dont have to buy a new drum each time the toner runs out (like on hp laserjet) as the toner cartridge and drum a seperate units. Its fast, reliable and is really nice quality. It also has a proper (i.e. not like horrible inkjet) paper feed mechanism so never jams, or gets layers of dust on the top sheet if you dont use to for long. On top of that it has a front and back manual feed (front for envolopes, transparancies and the like, and back for non flexible media) for when you want to do something without removing the paper already in the tray, which is really handy. And mine has been runnging solid for about 2 years (with 3 house moves) without a single problem you cant really go wrong. There are even linux/osx/whatevernix drivers on the cd.
  • Bought one off Ebay for 50 bucks not too long ago. Works great under Windows and Linux. VERY happy with it. As a bonus, it's lightweight and can fold up fairly small, if you need to move it around.
  • Incredible machine, it is. It's big, sure, but it's worth it. About 1000 sheets paper capacity, 17 ppm, job separator (the print output rollers actually move, offsetting print jobs, incredibly useful once you get used to it). Very nice print quality, cartridges are cheap-ish and long-lasting.

    Big plus: Expandible.
    You can pop memory in there (up to 32 or so MB, if I'm not mistaken), I have a JetDirect ethernet card in mine, and you can even pick up a PostScript DIMM that fits in the first memory slot to p
  • Samsung looks cheap, but you will get a much better deal with the Brother HL-5040. The toner is much cheaper (get the high-capacity toner), it has more memory, and it supports Postscript.
    • Got a Samsung, works like a peach. (Even came with a n installation cd for Linux, which worked great for me).
      The toner is nice and cheap too- CAD 80.
      I couldn't beat them on price as well. I got the printer new for CAD 170.

      So far I have done 2 rims of paper on the 1000 page rated 'starter' toner included with the printer and I am not seeing any graying yet.
  • I bought a HP 4Si duplex printer used for $30, and
    a bunch of toners at $10 each. I expect to be
    printing postscript friendly for several years
    before I need to worry about printing again.

    The local government and educational units
    have surplus sales that make it easy to live
    cheaply a cycle or two behind the "latest" thing.
  • I'm just now changing the toner. I bought one new in 1998 or 1999. Rock solid, postscript, easy to upgrade the memory. I've added an external jetdirect, and everything just works. I will never, ever sell this printer.

    My toner would have lasted if I hadn't printed out about 5000 flyers a couple of years ago. I just kept changing paper the whole day, never concerned about the printer.

    But don't take this as an endoresment for HP. The new printers suck. I supported about 30 of these until earlier this
  • First, calculate what one page of printout will cost you. Simplified, this is price of printer divided by expected years of use + price of consumables divided by number of copies rated. Plus - cost for paper, power and maintenance.
    Copier people (nowadays a digital copier is scanner + printer) call this click cost - which is lowest for well-designed printers with long-life components. Drum life can vary greatly - one major cost factor.

    Then check if the printer you have in mind is too slow (unlikely if it is

  • by smoon (16873) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @07:34AM (#7833933) Homepage
    Whatever you get, make sure it's postscript. Although you can 'make it work' when it's not, it's nice to have it supported out of the box. The biggest reason for this is cross-platform compatability -- if you've got postscript it's easy to print from Windows, Mac, Linux, *BSD, Solaris, HPUX, etc. If you don't, then its an exersize in finding drivers and setting up lpr filters. Postscript adds a lot of functionality to a printer. For example, one feature I like is to print 2 pages on one sheet. This is really easy to do if you've got a postscript printer since it's part of the 'page setup' when you print. Although it's possible to render 2 pages per sheet on a non-postscript printer, it's not nearly as easy to set up or use.

    Another point -- make sure you plan for an ethernet lpd style connection. Right now you might just have it hooked up to one machine, but long-term you will likely have 2 or more machines to print from and it's a lot cleaner to just have the printer 'on the network' than shared from another computer. Many printers have ethernet 10baseT or 100baseT ports as options, or as part of a slightly more expensive model. You can also get 3rd party connections as well, from companies like Lantronix or Castelle. Built-in ethernet is a lot faster for printing than an ethernet adapter plugged into a parallel port.

    I finally bit the bullet and got an HP LaserJet 6MP about 7 years ago. At the time it was around $1,000 -- and as far as I'm concerned it was worth every penny. Still prints great, cartridges last 2-3 years (and I print 300+ sheets a month).

    I got a color inkjet last year and have already spend more on ink in one year than I spent on toner in 7.

  • I recently bought an HP LJ 4plus (around 1995) on ebay for 88 Euros, plus shipping. It has only printed 110000 pages (estimated lifetime: 1M). I got a new cartridge with it for free (some 8000 pages). You could drop it from the Eiffel tower and it'd still work. Perfectly supported under Linux, although you should have at least 16MB of RAM. It actually *does* print the promised 12pages/min. Funny thing though, it was considerably cheaper than any of the crappy "L"-models which yare consistently slower and of
    • Re:HP LJ 4plus (Score:3, Informative)

      by DarkDust (239124)
      I was going to recommend the HP LJ 4/5 series as well. They are very robust printers, Linux plays very nice with them (and every other OS as well). Replacement parts are also still avaible and very cheap. I've got an 5L and had a 4 at work and both work without any problems for years now.
  • Though you've already written off Lexmark for what I think is only barely a legit beef, try their laser printers. I purchased a Lexmark Optra E310 for under $300 almost 5 years ago. I have yet to replace the toner cartridge and I tend to go through at least 10 reams of paper a year [video game walk through can be lengthy :-)]. The main reason for your switch is the main reason I never bought an inkjet. All of the manufacturers face the same problem. It's the technology not the company. So, give Lexmar
  • It seriously is a great resource for which printers work with linux. It even exlains how some work partially, fully or not at all. That said, If you can spring a few hundred dollars, I can't recommend the HP 1300 enough. I tried the 1000 but returned it immediately. Had no memory, and only a windows driver that was stored in rom. terrible terrible. So I upgraded to the 1300 which works great with my mixed OS environment (windows/OS X). and is rated highly on linuxprinting.org
  • Anybody have recommendations for a laser printer/fax/copier?

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