Rabu, 25 Mei 2011


In computing, a printer is a peripheral which produces a text and/or graphics of documents stored in electronic form, usually on physical print media such as paper or transparencies. Many printers are primarily used as local peripherals, and are attached by a printer cable or, in most newer printers, a USB cable to a computer which serves as a document source. Some printers, commonly known as network printers, have built-in network interfaces, typically wireless and/or Ethernet based, and can serve as a hard copy device for any user on the network. Individual printers are often designed to support both local and network connected users at the same time. In addition, a few modern printers can directly interface to electronic media such as memory cards, or to image capture devices such as digital cameras, scanners; some printers are combined with a scanners and/or fax machines in a single unit, and can function as photocopiers. Printers that include non-printing features are sometimes called multifunction printers (MFP), multi-function devices (MFD), or all-in-one (AIO) printers. Most MFPs include printing, scanning, and copying among their many features.
Consumer and some commercial printers are designed for low-volume, short-turnaround print jobs; requiring virtually no setup time to achieve a hard copy of a given document. However, printers are generally slow devices (30 pages per minute is considered fast; and many inexpensive consumer printers are far slower than that), and the cost per page is actually relatively high. However, this is offset by the on-demand convenience and project management costs being more controllable compared to an out-sourced solution. The printing press remains the machine of choice for high-volume, professional publishing. However, as printers have improved in quality and performance, many jobs which used to be done by professional print shops are now done by users on local printers; see desktop publishing. The world's first computer printer was a 19th century mechanically driven apparatus invented by Charles Babbage for his Difference Engine.
A virtual printer is a piece of computer software whose user interface and API resemble that of a printer driver, but which is not connected with a physical computer printer.



Inkjet printers are well known because they dominate the consumer market and have attracted an increasingly larger portion of the small and medium sized business (SMB) and small office/home office (SOHO) market due to a low initial cost and ease of use.

The inkjet technology involves spraying various sized liquid ink droplets through print head nozzles onto the print medium (paper, etc.). The print head can be fixed or disposable although most printers as of this writing have fixed printer heads. A fixed print head often has a more precise spray and is built to last during the printer's lifetime, which saves consumers money because the ink is often cheaper to replace. However, if something goes wrong with your print head, you will typically have to purchase a new printer.

Usually, the biggest choice for most consumers looking at inkjet printers will be between a single function machine or an All-in-One (AIO) printer. All-in-One printers are widely available and range from budget-friendly models with only the basic scan, copy and print capabilities to high end models with print, scan, copy, fax, photo, Web-connected apps, email, etc.

Inkjet printers will always have the edge over laser, LED or solid ink printers in the photo realm because of the dye based “wet” ink used in combination with glossy photo paper. However, those same inks are also the biggest negative when it comes to inkjet printers. In most cases, it can cost as much or more to replace one set of ink cartridge as it does to purchase the printer.

Laser and LED printers are grouped into the same category because they both fuse dry ink (toner) to your print medium using heat. The major difference between the two is that a laser printer uses precision lasers (hence the name) as opposed to the Light-Emitting Diode array (hence the name LED) to affix the toner to the imaging drum or belt.

Both processes takes very little time, compared to the other print technologies, giving laser/LED printers an advantage in print speeds, especially monochrome (black and white) versions. While there are laser printers that can pump out 150+ pages per minute (think production printers), average small office, home office/home office (SOHO) or small and medium-sized business (SMB) laser printers will typically print 20-50 pages per minute, depending on the job style (color vs. black and white).

Laser printers often win the battle when it comes to print resolution, but since the LED process is less complex, LED printers often hold court when it comes to cost, efficiency and even reliability.

The features on each printer vary just as they would with any technology, but typically laser and LED printers find their way into office environments (small and large enterprise). Some of the features to look for in a laser/LED printer are: resolution, multifunction capabilities, duplexing, automatic document feeders, size/number of paper tray(s), monthly duty cycle and built-in networking.

The major setback for most consumers or small offices looking to purchase a laser or LED printer is going to be the high initial cost. Even an entry level monochrome laser printer can cost $100-$200 (usually the mid- to high-end inkjet price range) depending on the vendor.

On the plus side, toner for laser/LED printers has become easier to use and more affordable. Most manufacturers package toner in easy to use cartridges sparing users the mess and hassle of refilling toner, offer both standard and high capacity options, and allow customers to reuse or recycle their cartridges.

We’ve included two printer types in the dedicated photo category: Dye sublimation and inkless (Zink). Obviously, users can get photo print quality from other print technologies (namely inkjet printers) but the dye sub and inkless printers on the market currently only print photographs.

Dye sublimation is often used in dedicated photo printers because of the superior number of color choices. Dye sublimation uses a solid dye ribbon that is heated until it turns into a gas and then spreads that over the print medium in four layers. The first three layers are the colors; the fourth is a clear laminate to keep prints from being destroyed when exposed to heat, which also helps extend the life of a photo print well beyond what an average inkjet printer may give you.

Inkless print technology is more recent and involves Zink imaging. The idea behind inkless prints is a special paper embedded with colorless dye crystals between two outer layers. When heated by the print drum, the crystals colorize, resulting in quick photos on the go without the need for messy ink.

Both are dedicated to printing photos (as the name suggests) and are more flexible than their counterparts because there is no worry about ink spills or need for an excessive amount of energy. New models often include battery packs, Bluetooth and/or built-in card readers for truly portable units.

Disadvantages? Well, the consumables are often limited in size – think 4x6 prints or smaller – and again, you won’t be printing anything other than photos.

A solid ink printer is a combination of various ink technologies. It uses solid sticks of ink (unique to the technology) with the consistency of candle wax that are heated into a liquid and sprayed onto a print drum. The print drum presses the ink onto the print medium.

Like laser and LED printers, the advantages include much quicker print speeds than you would get from inkjet or dedicated photo printers and low long term consumable costs. Unfortunately, solid ink printers also share the same disadvantage including high initial costs and higher energy consumption than its inkjet or dedicated photo printer competitors.

Solid ink printers do offer all the same features you can find on both laser-class printers and inkjet printers: Multifunction capabilities, built-in networking, automatic duplexing, front side USB ports, and large paper capacity and monthly duty cycles.

Xerox is currently the only manufacturer with solid ink printers on the market, and has continued to launch new solid ink printers following the success of the Phaser line and the newer Xerox ColorQube line.

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