DoubleRES 4. (printer software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Stephen Levy
Get 600 dots per inch from a 300-dpi HP LaserJet Series II or III! That's the claim LPAC makes for its doubleRES 4. But the board does more than just improve the resolution of Windows printing; it also speeds up the process.
As a computing veteran with years of experience, I've heard my share of unfulfilled claims. As a result, I installed doubleRES 4 with a bit of skepticism.
For me, installation meant loading up the doubleRES 4 printer driver in the usual manner and inserting the doubleRES 4 board into the Optional 1/0 port of my LaserJet Series 11 printer. Both of these tasks were relatively painless. Completing the installation process required changing the LaserJet's configuration using the control panel on the printer. (This was probably the most difficult part of the process.)
With everything in place, I loaded a 20-page PageMaker 4.0 file, which included a variety of line drawings and used several Adobe fonts, as well as about six screen captures. I was very impressed with the increased printing speed. The doubleRES 4 board includes an Intel i960 microprocessor that does much of the work the computer usually does, speeding up printing.
Once I finished my initial test, I began exploring the options available with the doubleRES 4 printer driver. These included the capabilities of selecting either 300 or 600 dpi and choosing halftone quality printing options of 53, 71, 85, or 106 lines per inch, an important feature if you print halftones with a LaserJet.
I did have an opportunity to try LPAC technical support. I use a Gateway 2000 486 with an ATI video card that has an SVGA BIOS incompatible with the doubleRES 4 printer driver. LPAC did have an alternate driver that I downloaded from its BBS. The new driver solved a problem I was having printing PageMaker files with running heads.
I also had a very simple-to-explain problem printing from Quattro Pro for Windows: DoubleRES 4 simply didn't work with that program! LPAC has discussed the problem with Borland, and both companies are working on it. While I experienced no problems serious enough to scare me away from doubleRES 4, you should probably check to be sure that it will work with the software you need it for.
I did, however, successfully use doubleRES 4 with all the other programs I tried. Printing multiple-page documents with doubleRES 4 was about five times faster than with the standard driver at 300 dpi printing from PageMaker, Word for Windows, and WordPerfect for Windows. The quality of the printing was also improved, as you would expect with the increased resolution, although the visual differences to the naked eye depend on the font, style, and size of the characters, especially if you use Adobe fonts.
At $599, doubleRES 4 isn't a cheap add-on. But if you need to upgrade your HP LaserJet for increased speed in Windows printing and for 600-dpi resolution (and still be able to print DOS applications at 300 dpi) and if doubleRES 4 will work smoothly with the applications you use, it's an excellent alternative to buying new printer.