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Apple LaserWriter II Series

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Model Information

[Apple LaserWriter II SC]

Model Data
Model Number LaserWriter II SC
Introduction Date January 1988
Original MSRP $2,799
Replaces None, new class of printer
Replaced by Model Personal LaserWriter SC


The least expensive model of the SX-based LaserWriter II family is called the SC, which stands for "SCSI-connect". While the II NTX connects to the Mac host via AppleTalk and has a "private" SCSI port designed to support a hard disk for storing additional fonts, the SC uses its SCSI port as a "direct connect" to its Mac host. The Mac builds up a page of data using its internal QuickDraw language and sends data to the SC over the high-speed SCSI port. The SC's controller is designed to handle QuickDraw data format and the SC is sometimes called a QuickDraw printer. The SC does not support PostScript directly, but can be used as PostScript printer if the host Mac runs a PostScript to QuickDraw translator.

Since the SC is connected to the Mac's SCSI bus rather than via AppleTalk, it is not a network resource and can be used only by the host Mac. Software is available that converts the host Mac into a network printer server, but this approach has been unpopular because of its poor performance.

The LaserWriter II SC was eventually replaced in July of 1990 by the less expensive 4 ppm Personal LaserWriter II SC. This new model has a controller very similar to that of the LaserWriter II SC. The Personal LaserWriter SC was on the market for only about 9 months when Apple replaced it with the Personal LaserWriter LS. The LS uses data-compression techniques to allow the SCSI interface to be replaced by the RS-422 (AppleTalk) interface. Apple evidently decided that SCSI was not the best printer interface.

Apple's abandonment of the SCSI bus as a computer-to-printer interface for high end printers is significant, although just what it signifies is open to question. The obvious issues are system integrity, performance and connectivity. Connecting a printer to a bus that is shared by a computer's hard disk drive could, in the event of a malfunction on the printer's interface, prevent the hard disk drive from working. In an extreme case, hard disk data could be damaged. SCSI connect printers such as the II SC also tend to burden the computer's processor, making performance notably sluggish. Lastly, SCSI connect printers are difficult to share over a local area network.

Note that using the SCSI interface to connect a printer to a private disk drive, as in the case of the Apple II NTX or the Xante controllers, safely isolates the printer from the computer's SCSI port, helps performance for applications that require lots of fonts, and makes it easier to share fonts across a network.

The addition of Adobe Type Manager (ATM) to system 6.X operating systems added a potentially unlimited number of fonts of excellent quality to the LaserWriter II SC. With ATM, the SC printer can print the full Adobe library at 300 dpi. ATM and the Adobe Plus package of fonts actually makes these printers the equivalent of PostScript printers for text-only applications. Adobe stopped short of fixing the graphics operators, however, and ATM does nothing for the graphics. In fact, the SC's graphics seem to look a bit worse with ATM. Apple System 7.0 added the ability to print TrueType fonts.


The LaserWriter II SC can print any font installed into the computer's operating system. A basic set comes free with Apple System 7.x. Other TrueType and PostScript fonts can be purchased.


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 SC Controller]

Controller Specifications
Part Number 661-0428
Designer/Mfg. Apple
Languages (Std & Opt) QuickDraw
CPU & Clock Rate 68000 @ 15MHz
Resolution (max) 300 x 300
RET None
Min/Max RAM 1 MB standard, not expandable
ROM 16 KB standard
Interfaces SCSI (Host Connect)

The SC controller has been called a "QuickDraw" controller, but actually the "quick drawing" is done by the host Mac. The Macintosh computer builds the page and sends rectangular blocks of bitmap data over the SCSI port. Since the volume of data can be relatively high, the fast SCSI bus is good conduit for bitmap data.

The II SC controller has enough memory for full page 300-dpi graphics. Original LaserWriter II SC drivers were designed to be compatible with the low-end Mac Plus, which didn't have the RAM resources of the Mac II. Since the entire print image had to be built in the Mac's memory before being sent to the II SC, and since memory was scarce in the Mac Plus, full 300-dpi-resolution graphics were rarely supplied to the printer. As a result, graphics usually appear stair-stepped and most of the large fonts have the same jagged quality as those on the Mac's screen. The standard LaserWriter SC driver supplies only 4 bitmapped fonts and these come only in small sizes.

The limitations of the Mac LaserWriter II SC driver software gave SCSI printers a bad image in the industry. GCC Technologies offered a slightly better driver with more fonts to go with their printer, called the PLP (Personal Laser Printer). Like the SC, the PLP was SCSI connect, but it was based on the Ricoh 1060 engine, which had an equally poor reputation. Better drivers built into Apple System 7 fixed most of the problems associated with the II SC, but users recall the unfavorable impression created by early SCSI-connect printers.

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 SC 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 SC controller comes with 1 MB that is not expandable.


The LaserWriter II SC controller has a SCSI connector for attaching to the host Mac.


The Printer Works recommends adding PostScript capability by replacing the SC controller with any one of the Apple controllers (NT, NTX, IIf, IIg). See the detailed information about the other Apple printers in this section to find out about their capabilities. At minimum, we recommend adding Adobe Type Manager software or upgrading to System 7 (which includes TrueType).

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
RLW2SC Printer, Apple LaserWriter II SC, Refurbished
661-0428 Controller, Apple LW II SC
M03-113 Cable, SCSI-1 50M/50M, 6 foot
R64-0002-150 Toner Cartridge, EP-S Canon Label
M6002 Toner Cartridge, Apple Brand for LaserWriter II

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