HP 4050/PCL5 queuing slowly under Windows but not linux

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HP 4050/PCL5 queuing slowly under Windows but not linux

Postposted on Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:54 pm

I got an HP 4050N free from ewaste. Yes, it's old, but it works well. However, it came with 16MB RAM (8MB soldered + 8MB DIMM), and I added a 64MB DIMM in hopes that it would stop pausing between pages when printing complex documents (both via LAN and USB/LPT adapter). Here's the kicker - it still pauses when doing this from Windows, same as before. But in Ubuntu 14.04LTS, I was asked how much RAM it had (>32MB is the max option, which I chose), and I was able to print those same pages from Chrome with no lag whatsoever between them. It left the queue much faster. Yet in Windows, I still get that lag, even if I install it to Windows after I've added the printer RAM. And in Windows, RAM options for the printer go from 128MB to 512MB (none of those are correct, so I chose 128MB). Any thoughts? 4 pages from a textbook take ~13MB in the queue, which should be fine with 80MB RAM. I'm using a USB/LPT adapter at the moment, but considering I did the same on Ubuntu and Windows yet had different results, there's clearly a driver issue. Any thoughts?
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Re: HP 4050/PCL5 queuing slowly under Windows but not linux

Postposted on Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:32 am

PCL5 vs postscript perhaps? Or maybe the Linux renderer is just doing a better job than the Windows one of making simple stuff that doesn't tax the onboard processor as much?
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Re: HP 4050/PCL5 queuing slowly under Windows but not linux

Postposted on Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:50 am

Could also be that the Windows driver for the USB to LPT adapter sucks.

Have you tried sharing the printer from the Linux system, and printing to it over the network from the Windows system? Depending on where the bottleneck is, that may be a viable workaround.
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Re: HP 4050/PCL5 queuing slowly under Windows but not linux

Postposted on Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:27 pm

I'm using the OS-provided PCL5 driver in both cases. I tried Postscript under Windows at one point, but that actually worked worse for me. (And PS seems to be known for higher resource use in most cases.) And the newer PCL6 drivers tend to not work with these older units either.

Thing is, that lag with Windows also occurs if I go over the LAN. Jetdirect 600N 10/100 card. Though FWIW, the printer (with USB/LPT adapter) shows as being a USB printer on port USB001 - nothing about LPT.

That said, I do have a Pentium M laptop (win7 32-bit) with a parallel port, so I tried that. However, Windows still insists on printer memory options between 128MB and 512MB. Same as on my 8.1 system with the USB/LPT adapter. And when I tried using the Pentium M machine as a print server and printing from the Win8.1 system, the job went through VERY slowly. Actually, same when I went directly through it. (Maybe it switched to the wrong LPT mode?)

However - I installed the Samba package on the Ubuntu machine, shared it over the LAN, and it worked decently well. Still some lag, but it seems like the document left the queue on Windows 8.1 almost immediately, and then the linux machine spent a little more time actually feeding it to the printer. Windows did ask me what driver to use, so I told it to use the 4050 PCL5 built into Windows.
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