Etc.


— 3:24 PM on February 26, 2010

Well, my Radeon HD 5830 review decided—entirely of its own accord, mind you—to bleed into next week. I pretty much burnt myself out on the testing and layout phases of this one, and when it came time to write, I just couldn't swing it. Each. Word. Took. Forever. Should have it finished early next week, though, and we have some interesting info about how older video cards compare. Kinda fun.

Also, thanks to all of you who so heartily recommended Brother printers to me when I explained my printer dilemma earlier this month. On your advice, I ordered up a MFC-9320CW from Amazon last weekend. (The price was $399 at the time, although it's inexplicably up to $479 right now.) I figure 400 bucks is a small price to pay in order to escape from the inkjet racket, and I was frankly surprised to see that a color laser (well, OK, LED) print/copy/fax/scan/waffle iron/blender wasn't more expensive. Heck, the thing has both Ethernet and Wi-Fi networking built in, too.

I unpacked the Brother MFC this morning, all the while experiencing a great sense of relief after being stuck with a failing inkjet for way too many months. So far, I'm head over heels in like with the thing, for a host of reasons: the shockingly easy setup, the paper tray that actually holds enough paper, the fact that the entire driver and software download is only 42MB, the ludicrous-speed printing... This is a real printer, not a cheap ink delivery system. Ahhh.

And, as if by magic, no computer has to be anywhere near it. We can decommission our WinXP-based print server box.

The biggest pleasant surprise so far is the color print quality. On plain paper, it's simply superior to our inkjet. I don't think it will produce glossy photo prints with colors that pop like an inkjet's, but the quality is very serviceable and much better than I expected. Seeing vast swaths of solid colors with no lines through them is a nice change, but the effective resolution and color fidelity are quite good, as well. We'll rarely need or want anything more—and when we do, we'll use a photo printing service. Given the crispness of text printed on the LED mechanism, this is easily a net quality improvement for us.

The one major drawback of the MFC-9320CW may be the cost of the consumables, which isn't much better per page than the best inkjets, according to some reviews. I think the true cost for us will depend on our usage patterns somewhat, but I was willing to risk paying a little more for toner due to everybody's strong endorsements of Brother products. Also, given that we've been held hostage by an inkjet that was giving up on color cartridges about 15% of the way into their lifespans, even a fairly poor deal would be a major improvement.

   
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