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Browsing In Home > Support > Knowledge Base > Host Based Drivers Glossary of printer troubleshooting terms Glossary Contact Us

Host Based Drivers

The following HP Color LaserJet and LaserJet series products use a host-based printing system:

HP Color LaserJet 1500 series printer

HP Color LaserJet 3500 and 3550 series printer

HP LaserJet 5L and 6L series printers

HP LaserJet 1000, 1005, 1010, 1012, and 1015 series printers

HP LaserJet 1150 series printers (The PCL5e driver is the default driver for this printer.)

HP LaserJet 1160 series printers (The PCL5e driver is the default driver for this printer when performing a typical installation. The PCL5e print driver is available on the CD-ROM and for download from the HP Web site.)

HP LaserJet 3100 and 3150 series products

What is Host-Based Printing?
The host-based software uses the computer's resources to process print commands and rasterizing data, taking advantage of the computer's memory and processing power. Host-Based printing is a cost-effective printing technology that enables printers to utilize the processing power and memory resources of the PC (or the Host). In comparison, PDL-based printers use the processor and memory resources of the printer.

NOTE: PCAnywhere or remote desktop connections are not supported on a host-based printer, HP suggests using a non-host-based printer for this type of environment.

How does it work?
Only a rasterized data image (completely formatted image) is sent to the printer. This speeds up the print time and reduces the number of "out of memory" problems generated by the printer. Host-Based printing works by converting Windows GDI commands (graphics commands) generated by the application to the dot pattern to be created on the page. This dot pattern is then compressed and sent from the host PC to the printer, which stores the image of the page before printing. This permits printing with only 2 MB of ROM and 16 MB of formatter RAM.

In comparison, PDL-based printers require a more extensive formatter with right RAM and ROM requirement, as well as more powerful processor on board the printer. For example, the HP Color LaserJet 2500 printer has 8 MB of ROM and 64 MB RAM.

The host-based driver communicates differently through the local port than with other HP Color LaserJet and LaserJet series products. Host-based printer drivers cannot be set to print to an LPT port. The driver set uses virtual ports, and sends the print job to the parallel port through the virtual ports. This system allows multiple tasks to be performed at the same time such as printing while a fax is being sent. For a complete listing of functions that can and cannot be performed at the same time, refer to the section titled, "Simultaneous tasking features" in the specific HP Color LaserJet or LaserJet series product's User's Guide.

Benefits of Host-Based printing
A host-based printer utilizes the host computer's processing power to convert the software application's page information into a raster format to be printed by the printer. Since newer computers process at much faster speeds than most printers processors, complex jobs could print faster when utilizing a host-based printer driver. For example, the HP Color LaserJet 1500 is equipped with host-based printing to allow the user to accomplish more complex print jobs in Windows and Macintosh environments without incurring the cost of adding memory to the printer or sacrificing speed and performance.

Benefits of PDL printing
Host-based printing requires a software print engine in the host operating system, and unlike a PDL (Printer Description Language) printer, cannot accept ASCII text direct from a computer. This means that the Host based printer will only work in the Windows and Macintosh environments that are specifically supported with the print engine written for that environment. Users of unsupported Windows and Macintosh environments, as well as users of Linux, Unix, and OS/2 should consider a PDL printer like the HP Color LaserJet 2500 or HP LaserJet 3700 series printer.

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