Testing printers' speed limits

Ricoh Afico CL200 proves the quickest in text tests while the Xerox Phaser 6350DN reigns for graphic speeds

The roundup marks the full rollout of a major adjustment to our speed ratings. Our test suite, based on the one developed by our sister publication's PC World Test Center, calculates ppm (pages per minute) speed based on printing a single copy of each test file. This is a realistic scenario for personal and small-office use but not for enterprises. On the other hand, printing a single copy shows the effect of file-processing time on print speed, a lag that vendors would rather de-emphasize when they quote engine-speed specs.

The speeds you'll see in this test report show the average time it took for each printer to print one copy and 10 copies of the same job, giving reasonable weight both to processing time and to the printer's speed potential.

For graphics tests, we weighted our Excel and PowerPoint times more heavily than our Photoshop tests, assuming the former applications are more frequently used. All printers were tested with their PostScript drivers.

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