GDI PRINT DRIVERS (SOMETIMES PRINTS FASTER THAN PCL OR OTHER FORMATS)
GDI printers, in particular GDI laser printers, replace the traditional processing power of the printer itself with capabilities “borrowed” from the host computer. There are two advantages:
* It saves the cost of including a dedicated graphics processing CPU and RAM in the printer (typically about $50 US).
* Depending on the particular implementation it can provide performance benefits.
The disadvantages are that:
* It imposes a higher workload on the host system’s resources. In the most recent systems this usually is a non-issue, in older systems (typically in the 200 to 500MHz range) it could be a significant problem. In older systems still, it is often not possible to use a GDI printer at all.
* GDI printers usually do not include the usual range of emulations in their firmware (nor the processing ability to implement them). In consequence, where with a full-featured PCL or Postscript printer the user has many alternative driver configurations to fall back on in case of a software incompatibility or driver bug, with a GDI printer there is often no workaround.
* GDI printers generally only work with Windows. Exceptions exist, but as a rule it is not possible to upgrade to a different operating system if you own a GDI printer.
Most current model inkjet printers are GDI-based (largely for performance reasons, as the cost factor is primarily to do with lasers), but the trend is to add more flexibility: many offer Mac support and the Linux community has become increasingly good at making Linux drivers available. Some (notably Epson) often also offer a more traditional emulation as a fallback.In general, the cheapest current model laser printers are GDI devices. Most manufacturers also produce more flexible models that add PCL compatibility, or Postscript, or both. In most cases it is only the very cheapest models in any given manufacturer’s range that are GDI only.