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23 August 2006

Nerd Factor X



In Printing Colour

Konica Minolta Magicolor 2430DLThis is recently arrived at Girtby Global Headquarters.

“Big deal,” you’re no doubt thinking. “A printer.”

But let me set the scene a little.

If you’re like me, your name is Alastair and you have a blog called And you’re probably old enough to remember when the Apple LaserWriter was introduced. 1985 to be exact. At the time it was the most powerful computer made by Apple, with a mighty Motorola 68000 clocked at a blistering 12 MHz churning out the pages.

I remember vividly, at the time it was introduced it cost ten thousand Australian dollars.

Eventually, and rather strangely in retrospect, the printing equivalent of Moore’s Law kicked in and we started to see printer prices approach affordability by mortals. Led by other technologies, laser printer prices have descended reluctantly. A few years ago, B&W laser printers became a reasonable alternative to inkjet. And now it seems it is time for the colour laser to enter the mainstream.

The Konica Minolta Magicolo(u)r 2430DL pictured above cost me a grand total of $540 shipped from my new best friends at Road Mogul (yes really). This is still a bit more expensive than a one-third-capacity inkjet cartridge — now sold by most manufacturers as a package with a free inkjet printer included — but I believe it will pay for itself pretty quickly. I estimate it is currently running at about A$0.20/colour A4 page for consumables.

For a complete review head over to Ars Technica. In the meantime, here’s what I like:

  • Ethernet connection. No mucking around with print servers and other nonsense. Plug it in, and everyone can print.
  • Very good quality on plain paper. Not good enough to frame, but certainly good enough to put up on the cubicle wall. Perfect for silly cartoons, but if you want to print “keepers”, take them to a real photo lab.
  • It’s quick. The first time a full colour A4 page came out I just about fell over in surprise. I was expecting it to sit there thinking for minutes instead of seconds (no 12MHz 68000 in this one).
  • Has a web interface for statistics and configuration. Right now I can tell you I’ve printed 268 colour and 201 B&W pages.
  • Drivers for Windows, MacOS X and Linux. What’s more, the linux drivers are provided as source code. Not just binary RPMs, but real live source code. Bravo!
  • Being a laser printer it doesn’t object at all to my sporadic printing habits. No nonsense with dried up ink cartridges, it just prints and then sits happily in energy saver mode until I decide to print again.

Things not to like:

  • The toner cartridges are one-third full. Par for the course these days though I suppose. I predict that soon we’ll see printer advertisements that highlight the “full capacity cartridge”, just like the “full size spare” car ads.
  • It’s not small.

Overall, recommended. I give it a score of 8 out of 10 FBI tracking dots.


Posted by
2006-08-23 07:34:42 -0500

Steve, I moved your comment to the thread for the article you were referring to. See there for further discussion…

Posted by
2006-08-23 07:34:42 -0500

Thanks Alastair. Steve.