Hardware

First Look: HP Designjet 4000 Large-format Printer

1 Sep, 2005 By: Ron LaFon

The HP Designjet 4000 large-format printer offers high-speed color and black-and-white printing up to 42" wide, as well as a wealth of beneficial features.


The HP Designjet 4000 large-format printer offers high-speed color and black-and-white printing up to 42" wide, as well as a wealth of beneficial features. Perhaps one of the most useful features is the HP Embedded Print Server. Using a standard Web browser on a network computer, users can simply enter the numeric IP address for the embedded server for driverless file submission, queue management, preview, error notification and supplies and printer status. Images that have been processed for printing can be stored on the Designjet 4000's 40GB hard disk for additional printing later without having to set up the print job again and wait for rasterization. This innovation is extremely useful and saves time, energy and money by letting anyone on the network access essential printing information. The printer also comes with an embedded processor for simultaneous printing and processing.



The HP Designjet 4000 uses a pair of staggered print heads (HP Double Swath technology) for a wider print swath and a higher firing frequency, producing faster printing times. I tested two vector drawings at D-size plots (24"x36"). A 3D line-art image of the Discovery spacecraft from the movie 2001, a file 2,583KB in size, printed using HPGL/2 in 1 minute, 35 seconds, including RIP time and drying. The Tasei Detail Plan, a sample 2D AutoCAD drawing (309KB), printed using HPGL/2 in 1 minute, 50 seconds, again including RIP time and drying. Finally, I printed a TIFF image (3008x2000 pixels) from a Nikon D70 6MP camera at D-size (24"x36"), which required 10 minutes total in normal mode—6 minutes, 45 seconds just to RIP the file to the printer, and then 3 minutes, 15 seconds to print. The rated print speed for the HP Designjet 4000 is 93 square meters or 1,000 square feet per hour. The speeds for our tests were quite good.

HP DESIGNJET 4000
HP DESIGNJET 4000

Speed is but part of the equation for large-format printers, with output quality being the balance. All the prints we ran produced very high-quality output for both lines and text, and excellent shadow detail and coverage for the bit-mapped TIFF image. We also looked at prints from large-format scans in both draft and normal modes, all of which were crisp and excellent. Output is impressive.

The HP Designjet 4000/4000ps offers reliable high-speed color and monochrome printing as well as an embedded server that makes printing information available to all users on the network.
The HP Designjet 4000/4000ps offers reliable high-speed color and monochrome printing as well as an embedded server that makes printing information available to all users on the network.

Two versions of the HP Designjet 4000 are available—a standard version ($9,995), and the HP Designjet 4000ps ($12,495), which includes an additional embedded RIP for Adobe PostScript Level 3 and Adobe PDF 1.5. We looked at and ran tests with the 4000ps. Various service and support options are available for both models, as are optional accessories such as the HP Jetdirect 40d Gigabit Print server, a high-speed USB 2.0 card, a 256MB memory upgrade (standard included memory is 256MB), and the HP Jetdirect 620n LAN card.

I tested the HP Designjet 4000ps onsite at the Dunwoody, Georgia, office of GeorgiaBlue Imaging, which is headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia (770.619.1231). GeorgiaBlue kindly made its facilities and expertise available to us for this review. The HP Designjet 4000ps is designed to be a dependable workhorse—indeed, the printer I tested was embarking on a week-long printing job for the government. This ruggedness and dependability, coupled with features that are designed to make the printer easy to manage, fast to operate and flexible in its output options, make the HP Designjet 4000ps an outstanding wide-format printer for the professional environment.

Ron LaFon, a contributing editor for Cadalyst, is a writer, editor and computer graphics and electronic publishing specialist from Atlanta, Georgia. He is a principal at 3Bear Productions in Atlanta.


About the Author: Ron LaFon


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