Printer Speed


The speed at which a printer outputs documents or disc has generally been equated to the printer's engine speed. It suggests that, if a user stood in front of a 6-ppm printer for one minute while it was printing, 6 printed pages would come out. This may or may not be the case as engine speed is just one of the factors that affect printing speed. This also applies to CD printers.

The printer's engine rating does not account for the time it takes for instructions to be processed and transmitted from the CPU to the printer. Nor, in many cases, does it account for the time it takes the printer, once it receives the instructions to format the document, to send it to the engine and output the first page. In order words, a printer's rated engine speed does not necessarily give a reliable indication of the time it takes to print a document. It merely accounts for the speed at which the engine can move paper or disc through the printer

Actual printing speed, i.e. the printing throughput, will vary from job to job depending upon the size and complexity of the document to be printed and the efficiency of particular hardware and software components involved in the process.

In a typical standalone computer printing environment, the following variables appear that can affect throughput speed:

  • CPU
  • application and its printer driver
  • printer I/O
  • printer language
  • printer's controller (formatter)
  • engine speed of the printer

CPU The speed at which the CPU can run an application can have a tremendous effect on the efficiency of that application.

Printer Driver The throughput-speed equation depends on the way a particular software application formats a file to be printed. It also depends on how efficiently the application's printer driver can format the file and send it to the printer. The more efficient the driver, the faster files can be sent to the printer.

Printer I/O The cable through which data is sent to the printer and the printer I/O receiving the data also can make a difference in throughput speed.

Printer Language Printer language can affect the size of the print file and how much downloading is needed. An efficient language will minimize file size and downloading time and increase the speed at which the document can be formatted for printing.

Printer's Controller The design of the printer's controller (or formatter) traditionally has been one of the largest potential bottlenecks to throughput speed. It determines how fast the received file can be processed and printed. In order to minimize this bottleneck, the printer should format a document and send it to the engine in the time it takes the engine to warm up and move the paper or disc through the printer.

Engine Speed The printer's engine speed will play a critical role in the overall speed equation. After all, once instructions are received by the engine, the printed document or disc can be outputted only as fast as the engine can move paper or disc through the printer.

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