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I've got a networked printer, a Samsung ML-2851ND, which I bought from NewEgg this most recent Black Friday. It's an awesome little printer -- small, fast, and inexpensive to operate. Perfect for myself and my 5 roomates here at school to use to print assignments and such (if only it was in color..)

It does have one serious problem. The printer itself is connected to all six of our rooms using a Gigabit Ethernet setup, so there's plenty of bandwidth between the printing machines and the printer. We often receive reasonably sized print jobs from our professors, requiring us to print 60-ish page PDFs on a regular basis. The printer itself bogs down when it's given these kinds of jobs -- it will warm up the fuser, print the first page, then stop. Then warm up the fuser again, print the next page, and then stop. So instead of the 30 pages per minute it achieves with text documents, it's down to maybe 5 or 6 :(. I've tried switching driver versions (between PCL and PostScript, for example), and it doesn't matter -- it consistently has problems printing these kinds of documents.

I'm thinking the 32 MB of default memory might be the culprit here -- only a single page would be able to be cached in the printer itself with that little cache memory. The printer supports expandable memory, up to 160MB. Would purchasing additional memory for the printer alleviate these kinds of problems printing PDFs?

(Side note: If anyone knows what kind of memory I would need to buy for it that would be helpful too, though I think I could figure that out after a time...)

EDIT: It should be noted that these PDFs are scans -- they are mostly big bundles of images (The source documents are usually from books). PDFs containing just text or graphics are fine.

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@Closevoter: What's "Not a real question" about this? The title says "Would installing memory in the printer make it print faster?" That seems like a question to me... – Billy ONeal Mar 30 '11 at 21:32
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Definitely. Especially if you have spooling enabled on your printer drivers, adding memory will allow much faster printing. More memory allows the printer to receive more of the job at once. This is especially important with scans (usually raster images that don't compress well), double-sided documents, color documents (which isn't really an issue with you) and anything else besides straight text documents.

The issue can be finding the memory compatible with the printer for a low enough price.

UPDATE with purchase suggestion:

Amazon sells PC133 in 128MB sticks. It's Kingston even, which is a decent brand. Printer memory controllers may not be up to the task of dealing with a memory stick of higher capacity or density than what they can handle by default. I would not be terribly surprised if the 256MB stick causes errors or simply does not report at all in the system.

UPDATE with SO-DIMM memory link: CDW (I really like these people!) has a PC133 128MB SO-DIMM for $16.99 by Edge. I've used Edge memory in workstations around the office and found them generally reliable. If that link gives you trouble, search for CDW Part No. 592481. Also, if your company has a purchasing accound w/ CDW, you'll probably get $1.50 or so off that price.

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+1. most printers now use standard laptop or desktop memory, it's just a matter of figuring out which standard. – afrazier Mar 30 '11 at 23:04
Indeed, you are correct. They tend to use older memory standards than those used in current computer though, and this usually means the prices are much higher. – music2myear Mar 31 '11 at 13:28
Well, just bought the 256MB PC133 RAM stick. We'll see if it works -- the printer says the max RAM is 192MB; I'm not sure if that means it won't be able to see that module, or if it will just use 128MB of it. (I hope the latter, obviously; couldn't find a 128MB stick anywhere) – Billy ONeal Aug 9 '11 at 16:56
192MB sticks don't exist. It's 128 + 64. – Broam Aug 9 '11 at 17:54
@music2myear: Well, the 256MB stick works just fine, and the printer is indeed significantly faster. It still stutter-starts on large image laden PDFs, but it gets 5 or 6 pages out before having to stop. I suspect that additional memory serves as a buffer for more pages so the printer doesn't have to keep going back to the PC for data as often. :) – Billy ONeal Aug 30 '11 at 22:26

My experience says "probably not". You'll be able to spool more, but that's not typically the restriction. The usual limit is the processor on-board the printer. I've worked with high-end printers that only have 64MB of RAM, but toss pages out at an impressive rate. I've also seen low-end printers hopped up with 320MB of RAM that have the page, pause, page, pause thing going on.

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Why would one ever install more RAM in the printer then? – Billy ONeal Aug 9 '11 at 18:46
Because, if it doesn't have enough RAM, it can make a massive improvement. It just depends on what the resource constraint is. – afrazier Aug 9 '11 at 19:16
@afrazier: Hmm.. interesting. Processor on that box says "SAMSUNG 400MHz" (Memory says 32MB (Max. 160MB)) I'll let you know if installing that extra stick makes any difference. – Billy ONeal Aug 9 '11 at 19:49
Installing more RAM did make things significantly faster for large image laden PDFs. No print speed changes to simple text documents; though I never had a problem with those anyway. – Billy ONeal Aug 30 '11 at 22:27

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