PrintSprint. (peripheral controller) (Hardware Review) (Evaluation)
by Stephen Levy, Pam Plaut
Tired of waiting for your Windows application to print to your HP LaserJet? Need a solution that's transparent? If you've tried speeding up your printing by disabling the Window's Print Manager but still aren't happy with the speed, you may want to consider installing PrintSprint.
To use PrintSprint, you'll need to install both hardware and software. You have to install both a printer controller card in your PC (you must have available a full-length 16-bit expansion slot) and the PrintSprint HP video interface adapter. The interface adapter installs in the printer's optional I/O slot. If you've never installed a card in your PC, you may find the experience a bit intimidating, but the installation instructions included are clear, concise, and easy to follow.
Installing the PC controller card in our PC required that we change the preset I/O jumper address in order to get PrintSprint to work with our network. The default address is 300-30F, which should work for most systems. But if you're connected to a network or have some other configuration that might be using this address, you'll need to change the I/O address jumper on the PC controller. Again, this wasn't difficult with help from the documentation.
Once you've installed the two hardware cards and connected the cable included with PrintSprint, all that's left to do is install the PrintSprint printer driver--another simple task given the easy-to-follow documentation.
After spending 20 minutes installing PrintSprint, we were ready to see if it lived up to its claims of printing "2, 3, even 10 times faster." On a Gateway 2000 386SX/16, most Windows applications printed about twice as fast. Generally, we were pleased with the results. With the Windows Print Manager disabled and PrintSprint in place, printing from PageMaker was noticeably faster.
Since PrintSprint is designed to work only with Windows applications, the documentation says that you must leave both your original cable (whether serial or parallel) and the PrintSprint cable connected so you can print from non-Windows applications. PrintSprint isn't designed to have any effect on printing from non-Windows applications.
Should you go to the expense of purchasing and installing PrintSprint? Like anything else, it depends on the speed of your computer, how much printing you do, and from what applications you print. If you do a lot of printing from your 386, you'll find PrintSprint worth investigating.