How to Determine Printer Memory Requirements and Upgrade Memory on a Laser Printer

Jul 17th 2015

Laser printers are quite fast because they upload documents entirely into the printer's memory before printing is initiated. Upgrading memory enables the laser printer to load and print more sophisticated pages and to load multiple documents in one sitting. The improved results will be superior quality printing and faster output.

In order to determine your printer memory requirements, analyze the type of documents that you print the most. If you are just printing text and graphics at 300, 600, or 1200 dpi (using the PCL printer language), most likely, you do not need additional memory. However, if you print a lot of complex graphics and documents, and utilize downloaded fonts and functions such as I/O buffering and resource saving, you will definitely benefit from increasing the amount of printer memory. For most black and white printers 32MB and 64MB of RAM is recommended. For most color laser printers, 128 MB of RAM is recommended.

Here are the minimum printer memory requirements for certain paper formats:

1) Single-sided printing letter, A4, legal - 16 MB
2) 11 x 17 in, A3 - 16 MB
3) Two-sided printing letter, A4 - 16 MB
4) Legal - 16 MB
5) 11 x 17 in, A3 - 24 MB

Here are the recommended printer memory requirements for certain paper formats:

1) Single-sided printing letter or legal - 32 MB
2) single-sided printing 11 x 17 in, A3 - 48 MB
3) Two-sided printing or duplexing printing: letter or legal - 32 MB
4) Two-sided printing or duplexing printing: 11 x 17 in, A3 - 64 MB

After determining the amount of RAM required, acquire the RAM by locating and recording the printer's model number. This number can be found underneath the printer or within the user's manual. Use this information to order the necessary amount of RAM by contacting the printer manufacturer by phone or web (or a local electronics store). Provide the representative with the printer's model number and make your requirements clear. The price for printer memory varies, but it usually costs about $1.00 or less per MB (megabyte).

Once the appropriate RAM has been acquired, study the installation instructions carefully. Next, remove the back (or side) cover of the printer, locate the panel containing the memory, and insert the memory into the appropriate slot. Finally, reassemble the printer and select "Menu" to use the configuration page to view current printer settings, troubleshoot printer problems, or verify options such as memory amounts, trays, etc. (All configuration pages differ depending on installed accessories).