A Higher Standard in Computer Services

Serving Sequim and the North Olympic Peninsula.  Phone (360) 683-0744

Email: mark"at"computer-mark.com [Please replace "at" with @] (spam is out of control)

 

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Network Solutions

Network Repairs & Maintenance

Network Printing

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Laptop Repairs

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Network Printing

Considerations

There is much to consider with the broad selection of printing and multifunction devices available today: What functions are necessary?, Is color needed?, Will fax and or internet fax capability be needed?, How many plain black prints will be produced each month?, How many full color prints will be produced each month, Will copy functions be needed?, Will scanning functions be needed?, Will scan to email be required? How many users will be using which functions? With all of these features available it can be a difficult decision to make. We can help you with weighing the options and pointing out features that will best meet the needs of your applications.

 

Why use a network for printing?

Printing over a network allows all workstations on the network to print from one printer. This was achieved in the past through printer sharing on a given workstation or using a print server.  Network ready printers cost a little more but are becoming more common as a standard feature every day. Network ready is even more beneficial with multifunction machines because it allows all users to use all functions provided by the device. 

Color Printing

 In the past making full color documents was a cumbersome task that required several different machines and the number of personnel increased with the complexity of the job at hand. For instance, consider that 25 years ago if a document were to be produced in full color it was a complicated process and involved many expensive processes, machines, and people including: an author, an editor, an artist, a typesetter, a color separator, plate makers, and printers to name a few. This process also cost several hundred dollars for the setup and took several days to complete.  Now with computer applications and color printers, the process has been simplified to the point where one person can virtually perform all of these tasks and have a color print in minutes and depending on the type of printer, the cost is usually less than 50 cents.

Some Printing Trade-offs

Generally as the cost of a machine goes up the cost per print goes down (this isn't always the case). Inkjet machines are very inexpensive to purchase but a high coverage full color print can easily exceed a dollar in ink costs so consider if more than 150 full coverage prints per month are made, by the end of one year the ink cost can easily exceed the price for a color laser printer with enough supplies to have produced nearly as many prints. The advantages an inkjet printer has over a color laser/LED printer is that the machine is much less expensive to purchase, inkjet ink can produce much brighter colors that reach closer to the florescent range, inkjet printers can also cleaner prints with less graininess and some have special media options that the fusing process of a toner type machine will inhibit such as printing directly to a printable CD surface. While a color laser printer can cost much less than an inkjet it still may cost as much as 50 cents a page depending on the make and model with the added benefit of more permanent water resistant prints. The print quality of the lower priced color laser printers is often very grainy, and limited in brightness compared to inkjet which is often considered POS  (Point of sale) quality output. If a higher volume of color prints are needed moving up to a higher volume color laser printer (often considered a color copier). High volume color laser copiers with a 40,000 to 100,000 prints per month rating can get the price down to less than 10 cents a page. Some added bonuses are: a machine of this magnitude is likely to be equipped with a PostScript ® (Adobe) color print server/controller i.e. Fiery® (Electronics For Imaging) Z4, Z5, S300 etc. These devices can be calibrated to match colors traceable to the national bureau of standards and can produce many prints with very little variance from one print to the next. These print servers are network capable enabling many workstations to print to the printer without the need for a workstation or server to share it over the network. There are also many other features that come with these servers. On the other hand if demand requires more than 5000 of the same page, flyer, or booklet especially using coated or heavier stock it is time to consider having the job produced on a printing press as the cost of the setup would be covered in the number of prints and everything beyond the trade-off point would be based mostly on the cost of the media it is to be printed on. Another advantage to this method is that registration and print quality are superior as well as the fact that printing inks can attain far brighter colors. A huge factor that is often ignored when buying any consumer/business machines is the environmental impact!  Manufacturers have been replacing more parts of machines with plastic and purposely produce machines that are too difficult to service. This planned obsolescence is generating far more impact than most people are aware of. The term I use is the disposability factor. Anyone may just go buy a cheap home or office machine (any consumer product not just printers) and get the job done and after maybe a year it stops functioning reliably or the quality diminishes so they take it to be repaired only to find it costs more to fix it than to buy a new one. So the consumer just buys a new device and tosses the old useless one in the trash. While environmentally conscious people will pay to have the unit properly disposed of, the problem is still growing exponentially. Just Google Brominated Fire Retardants to find out just a little taste of the impact of the devices we are buying over and over just to allow the creation of more environmental hazards. What we can do to help this issue the most is to insist on buying serviceable items that last. Sure they are more expensive but everyone benefits in many ways.  We can help you make a solid decision on the best product for your needs.

Inkjet Pros

  • Inexpensive initial purchase

  • Brilliant colors

  • Smooth background and halftones

  • Can be configured to print directly onto surfaces like printable CDs

Inkjet Cons

  • Almost never repairable
  • Extremely high ink cost per print
  • Water contact destroys most inkjet prints
  • Short lifespan (Volume)

Laser Pros

  • Much lower toner (ink) cost per print
  • Longer machine lifespan
  • Not effected by water
  • More often repairable

Laser Cons

  • More expensive initial cost
  • Poor halftones (not as much an issue in higher end equipment)
  • Less vibrant color prints
  • Media limitations

 

 

Phone (360) 683-0744

Email: mark"at"computer-mark.com [Please replace "at" with @] (spam is out of control)