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RE: Printer memory [Was: RE: [Groff] slack4, groff and ps]

From: Ted Harding
Subject: RE: Printer memory [Was: RE: [Groff] slack4, groff and ps]
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2005 01:16:57 +0100 (BST)

On 16-Oct-05 Daniel de Kok wrote:
> On Sun, 16 Oct 2005, (Ted Harding) wrote:
>> The only thing I specially did (and indeed have done ever since),
>> since the machine was so weak, was to buy a PostScript printer.
>> With that, the PostScript output from groff went straight to the
>> printer and did not require conversion in the computer to another
>> printer language.
> This makes me wonder. I am still doing conversion to PCL, either
> through grolj4 or Ghostscript, because the printer memory
> requirements are lower for printing PCL than PS (according to HP).
> Does anyone have some advise on what amount of printer memory would
> be OK for doing direct PS printing without too many printing delays?
> I have a LaserJet 5.
> -- Daniel

For most usage, less than you might think! For instance, if your
document uses only the "standard Adobe character sets", which you
can assume will be already installed on the printer (if it uses
genuine Adobe PS, like HP's PS printer), or mapped to the manufacturer's
proprietary emulations (like many Brother printer), then the printer
"dyamic" memory required is only what is needed for the PS code for
the number of characters on one page -- say 30KB for a 2-page document
with about 5K characters on each page.

It gets more demanding if you have to embed font definitions, since
these have to remain stored -- or be re-embedded in each page --
throughout the document. It gets even more demanding if you embed
large bit-mapped graphics objects. Very occasionally I have had
memory overflow in extreme cases of the latter. Mostly, however,
I have no problems and no noticeable delays.

For instance, my current HP 1300 laserjet has 16MB total RAM,
of which a large chunk is reserved for the page-image, leaving
(according to printer status page) only 5.6MB "available".

Nevertheless with this I can print the PS file obtained by scanning
an A4 sheet at 300dpi greyscale (a 12MB PS file). The time taken
between initiating the sending to the printer, and output of the
printed page, is just under 4 minutes (much of which is taken
up by simply transmitting the bytes along the parallel-cable).

On the other hand, printing the PS file for a text document
prepared by groff is almost instantaneous -- about 10 seconds
for the printer to wake up, and print the first page, then about
4 seconds per page after that.

The issue about PS vs PCL is that with PCL graphics data arrive
at the printer already "rasterised", so the printer does not need
to "remember" so much before it knows what to do. So it could
matter in marginal cases.

Hoping this helps,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <address@hidden>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 16-Oct-05                                       Time: 23:58:49
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