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Apple LaserWriter II Series

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Model Information

[Apple LaserWriter II NTX]

Model Data
Model Number LaserWriter II NTX
Introduction Date February 1988
Original MSRP $4,999
Replaces LaserWriter Plus
Replaced by Model LaserWriter IIf, IIg


The LaserWriter II NTX was considered by many to be the best laser printer available from any vendor. It held this top spot from the time it was introduced until QMS came out with the PS-810 turbo nearly two years later. The NTX was sold primarily to professional desktop publishers and service bureaus who needed a fast, true Adobe PostScript printer to proof pages that would eventually be printed by Linotronic image-setters equipped with Adobe PostScript RIPs. As a proofing device for the new high-end publishing systems, the LaserWriter II NTX was a key element in the revolution that converted the publishing world to PostScript and made many expensive proprietary typesetting systems obsolete. The magic combination of the reliable Canon SX engine, Adobe Systems software, a fast controller, and the ability to interface to a disk that could store the entire Adobe library of fonts on line... all this made the NTX a best-seller for years.

The IIf and IIg controllers are available separately to upgrade LaserWriter II SC, II NT, and II NTX.


The standard set of 35 Adobe typefaces is resident in on-board ROM. These common faces are known as the Adobe "Plus" set. In order to hold more resident fonts, the NTX was equipped with a SCSI interface for connection to an optional hard disk drive that could be loaded with additional fonts. Adobe offered both the drive and their entire font library preloaded as a ready-to-go package for about $10,000. At the time this disk-based font library was introduced, professional typesetters considered the Adobe package a bargain.

Font Card NTX

In 1991, three years after the introduction of the NTX, Sonnet Technologies began marketing the FontCard NTX which adds 25 Adobe typefaces. The FontCard NTX is a small circuit board with large ROMs that contain 25 of Adobe's best-selling non-resident fonts. The FontCard NTX comes with Adobe Type Manager and display fonts for the Macintosh or Windows 3.0.


Although the Apple LaserWriter II series has been discontinued, The Printer Works offers refurbished printers in like-new condition with a Six-Month Warranty. For a price quote, select the part number of the model that interests you in the ordering information table.

Controller Notes

Model Information | Supplies and Accessories | Ordering Information | Text Only

[Apple LaserWriter II NTX Controller]

Controller Specifications
Part Number 661-0429 or 661-1605 (Revised)
Designer/Mfg. Apple
Languages (Std & Opt) Adobe PostScript, HP LaserJet Plus, Diablo 630
CPU & Clock Rate Motorola 68020 @ 16.67MHz
Resolution (max) 300 x 300
RET None
Min/Max RAM 2 MB standard, 12 MB optional
ROM 1 MB standard, 2 MB optional
Interfaces AppleTalk, RS-232

The NTX controller can accommodate up to 12 megabytes of RAM (2 standard, 10 optional). The optional extra RAM speeds up the formatting of complicated jobs that contain many different fonts. Extremely complex PostScript programs may also need additional RAM to execute. LaserWriters will tell the Macintosh when VM is full and use the Mac to save and store information as needed. The Mac will, in turn, download fonts as asked for by the printer. When areas of memory used for font descriptions are filled and another font is needed, the printer will purge the least-recently-used font to make room for the new font. With extra RAM, more fonts can stay loaded in the printer and the Mac is less likely to waste time loading a font previously purged. Because of its huge RAM capacity, the NTX can print complex jobs that would cause other printers to falter. In addition to PostScript, the NTX can emulate the HP LaserJet Plus or the Diablo 630.

The LaserWriter II NTX has a SCSI interface for a hard disk to store additional fonts. This port was not programmed to work as a host interface, so the NTX cannot be used as a SCSI connect printer. SCSI drives are connected only to the printer and not to Apple's SCSI bus.

Extra RAM can be added with 1-megabyte SIMM modules. These modules are of the same special type as used with the Mac IIfx and access time should be 100 nanoseconds or less.

Revision Notes

The Apple LaserWriter II NTX controller was revised several times and information on this is a little vague. Evidently there were originally two version. The U.S. version was part number 661-0429 and contained ROM part numbers 342-0560 through 342-0567. The other version, for export to Japan, was called the LaserWriter II NTX-J and contained a controller board part number 661-0498 with Kanji fonts. The newer version, called "rev. 3", is part number 661-1605 and its eight ROMs have part numbers 342-0711 through 342-0712. These new ROMs add Kanji fonts to the standard set so that the new rev. 3 controller is a replacement for both the early U.S. and the Japanese versions.

Supplies and Accessories

Model Information | Controller Notes | Ordering Information | Text Only
You can check prices or order these items from the ordering information table below.


The LaserWriter II NTX uses the same toner cartridges as all other SX-based printers.


The LaserWriter II NTX printer uses the same shaped paper trays and high-capacity feeders as all other SX-based printers. All versions are physically interchangeable, but there are slight color differences. The Apple-brand part number versions match the color of the cover set, but the differences are so minor most people don't notice them. (See also Diagram 300.)


The LaserWriter II NTX controller uses 64 pin SIMMs without parity. There are 12 SIMM sockets slots arranged into 3 banks of 4. Each bank of four should contain only 256K or 1MB SIMM sticks. In other words, memory modules must be changed in groups of four. The speed must be at least 100 nanoseconds. The Printer Works sells this memory in sets of four that have been tested for use with the LaserWriter controllers, or individually as service spares.


The LaserWriter II NTX controller has standard connectors for AppleTalk and RS-232, as well as SCSI for a local hard drive for a font cache.


For extensive font libraries in a shared-printer environment or for faster printing of complex documents, The Printer Works recommends adding RAM modules, installing the FontCard NTX from Sonnet, additional RAM modules, and/or attaching a SCSI hard disk with Adobe Type 1 fonts.

For improved print quality The Printer Works recommends exchanging the NTX controller for either an Apple LW IIf or Apple LW IIg controller. See the detailed information about the other Apple printers in this section for information about their capabilities.

Ordering Information

Model Information | Controller Notes | Supplies and Accessories | Text Only
For price and ordering information or to place the item in your shopping cart,
select a Part Number in the table.
Part Number Description
M6215 Printer, Apple LaserWriter II NTX
661-0429 Controller, Apple LW II NTX
661-1605 Controller, Apple LW II NTX (rev. 3)
M03-200 Cable, AppleTalk DIN8, 1 Mac to 1 Printer
M03-210 Cable Kit, PhoneNet, DIN8 to RJ11
M03-113 Cable, SCSI-1 50M/50M, 6 foot
Cable, EtherTalk
R64-0002-150 Toner Cartridge, EP-S Canon Label
M6002 Toner Cartridge, Apple Brand for LaserWriter II

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