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Apple LaserWriter II Series

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Controller Notes | Supplies and Accessories | Ordering Information | Text Only

Model Information

Advanced controller technology from Apple improves print quality
and boosts speed of the LaserWriter II engine
[Apple LaserWriter IIf or IIg]

Model Data
Model Number LaserWriter IIf
LaserWriter IIg
Introduction Date October 1991
Original MSRP IIf: $3,599
IIg: $4,599


The LaserWriter IIf and IIg were introduced at the Fall 1991 Seybold Conference on Desktop Publishing. The printers use the same 300 dpi Canon SX engine as their predecessors the SC, NT, and NTX. The IIf and IIg were under development at Apple for a long time and they represent a major advance in controller technology over previous Apple models. The IIf and the IIg are both improvements over Apple's previous top-of-the-line LaserWriter II NTX.

The IIf and the IIg offer improved print quality based on Apple's proprietary technology called FinePrint. FinePrint is similar to HP's Resolution Enhancement, but it's not as sophisticated. FinePrint is an edge enhancement scheme that only smooths the jaggies. FinePrint does not guess when to sharpen points or inside corners at line crossings as HP's RET does. A new LaserWriter driver allows Mac users to turn FinePrint on or off. Fineprint operates at print time on the 300-dpi raster data created by the PostScript interpreter. In this way it improves print quality without degrading print speed or significantly increasing the manufacturing cost of the printer.

The IIg includes another new proprietary Apple technology, called PhotoGrade and used for printing high-quality scanned images. The IIf can be upgraded to PhotoGrade capability simply by increasing printer RAM to 5 megabytes. All necessary hardware and firmware are already built into the IIf controller. With PhotoGrade, the resolution is still 300 dpi, but pixels are printed in different sizes and in particular patterns within halftone cells, to produce output that truly looks gray. Apple claims Photograde produces over 65 recognizable levels of gray.

PhotoGrade improves the quality of scanned images differently than the 600-dpi resolution schemes used by DP-Tek and QMS in their 300-dpi SX-based products. With PhotoGrade gray scale, color information from the computer is converted into a mosaic of four-point stars made of eight-pixel dot patterns called cells. The amount of toner deposited in each pixel space is varied by the amount of time the laser beam is switched on. Due to effects caused by the interaction of neighboring pixels, the maximum theoretical number of gray scale patterns cannot be realized on an SX engine. Of the over 130 possible combinations of patterns and pixel intensities possible in a four-point star (eight-pixel halftone cell), Apple engineers have identified 67 combinations that will consistently produce distinguishable shades of gray.

The 600-dpi improved resolution schemes of other manufacturers begin with higher-resolution bit-map information instead of color information. Boundaries are defined to greater precision, and smaller dots are used to fill the grid. Special techniques are used to induce dots to fall between successive scan lines in order to improve vertical resolution.

Both PhotoGrade and 600-dpi resolution schemes require more RAM and processor overhead than conventional 300-dpi resolution. The IIf features a 20 MHz 68030 processor and the IIg features the faster 25 MHz 68030. Both controllers can accommodate up to 32 megabytes of RAM.

The IIg and the IIf also include Adobe PostScript Level 2, which is designed to be fully compatible with original PostScript and offers additional capabilities and speed improvements. Another new feature is simultaneous interface connection. The IIf can be connected to LocalTalk and RS-232 interfaces simultaneously. The IIg features Ethernet using Apple's 15 pin AAUI protocol, and it can be simultaneously connected to Ethernet, LocalTalk, and RS-232. Both printers include HP LaserJet IIP (PCL 4+) emulation, which is an improvement over the LaserJet Plus emulation offered by the II NTX.

The improvements incorporated in the IIg and IIf are significant. PhotoGrade represents an important milestone in the evolution of printer controllers for Canon engines. The EtherNet capability of the IIg allows faster data transfer, which is especially important for scanned images. By Apple's standards, the introductory prices for these advanced machines were very competitive.

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


Both Adobe PostScript fonts and TrueType fonts are supported. TrueType is the scaling technology invented by Apple and subsequently licensed to MicroSoft, who has licensed it to other printer manufacturers. The standard "Plus" package of 35 Adobe typefaces is resident in on-board ROM. Like the older II NTX, the IIf and the IIg both have SCSI ports for attaching an external hard disk for font storage.


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

IIf Controller: FinePrint for finer looking text
IIg Controller: Fineprint, PhotoGrade, and Apple EtherTalk!
[Apple LaserWriter IIf and IIg Controllers]

Controller Specifications
Part Number 661-0662 (IIf)
661-0661 (IIg)
Designer/Mfg. Apple
Languages (Std & Opt) Adobe PostScript Level 2,
TrueType Font, PCL 4+
CPU & Clock Rate Motorola 68030 @ 20 MHz (IIf)
Motorola 68030 @ 25 MHz (IIg)
Resolution 300 x 300 with 4 bits gray scale data
RET Apple proprietary FinePrint
Min/Max RAM 2 MB std, 32 MB maximum (IIf)
5 MB standard, 32 MB maximum (IIg)
Interfaces RS-422/AppleTalk, RS-232, SCSI, EtherTalk (IIg only)

The LaserWriter IIf and IIg use many proprietary ASICs for engine control, memory management, AppleTalk (PIK), SCSI I/O, EtherNet I/O, PhotoGrade, and FinePrint. With this many proprietary chips, Apple will be the exclusive source for controller repair unless they decide to sell the chips to repair firms.

Extra RAM can be added with 1 or 4 megabyte SIMM modules. These modules are of the same special type as used with the Mac IIci and Mac IIsi. Users tell us that the amount RAM shipped with both the IIf and IIg is just barely enough for proper operation.

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 IIf and IIg use the same toner cartridges as all other SX-based printers. If the printer is being used for high-quality work, we recommend one of the premium version cartridges that contain a new super drum and extra-fine toner particles that produce richer black areas and finer lines.


We're now offering maintenance kits. See table below.


The LaserWriter II 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 IIf and IIg controllers use standard 30 pin SIMMs without parity. There are 8 SIMM sockets slots arranged into 2 banks of 4. Each bank of four should contain only 256K, 1MB, or 4MB 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 singly and in sets of four. Each SIMM has been tested for use with the LaserWriter controllers, or individually as service spares.See Parts Table.


The LaserWriter IIf and IIg controllers have standard connectors for AppleTalk, RS-232, and SCSI for a local hard drive for a font cache. In addition, the LaserWriter IIg has an Apple EtherTalk connector.


LaserWriter II printers are easily upgraded by controller exchange. Unfortunately, the high-performance Xante Accel-a-Writer controller for the LaserWriter II is no longer in production. The Printer Works also accepts trade-ins. The value of a particular trade-in is dependent on part number, resident RAM, functionality, and whether or not it is cosmetically acceptable. To receive a price quote for a trade-in, please contact our sales department via e-mail. They will give a value in cash or credit against purchases. All trade-in value quotes are subject to change based upon inspection of the controller by our PC board department.

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
B0262LL-A Printer, Apple LaserWriter IIf, Refurbished
B0261LL-A Printer, Apple LaserWriter IIg, Refurbished
33449-37904 Maintenance Kit, (120V) - 100k Pg. Rpl Parts
for All SX
33449-67903 Maintenance Kit, (220V) - 100k Pg. Rpl Parts
for All SX
661-0661 Controller, LW IIg
661-0662 Controller, LW IIf
M0291LL/A SIMM KIT, 30 pin, 4 x 256K (1 Mb upgrade)
1MBX8 SIMM, 30 pin, 1Mb, 100ns. Must be installed in sets of four.
(1 Mb upgrade)
M0292LL/A SIMM KIT, 30 pin, 4 x 1Mb, 100n
(4 Mb upgrade)
8MBX8 SIMM, 30 pin, 4 Mb, 80n or better. Must be installed in sets of four.
(16 Mb upgrade)
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

Model Information | Controller Notes | Supplies and Accessories | Text Only

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