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QMS PS-810 Series

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Model Information

[QMS-PS 810 Turbo Printer]

Model Data
Model Number QMS-PS 810 turbo
Introduction Date August 1989
Original MSRP $5,995
Replaces Model QMS-PS 810
Replaced by Model QMS-PS 815/825


The QMS-PS 810 turbo established a new class of printers for QMS. It was both the fastest PostScript laser printer made and the only QMS printer to feature a SCSI port. The SCSI port could be used for up to 7 hard drives to hold downloadable typefaces, emulations, and PostScript programs. The PS 820 turbo is the dual bin version of the 810 turbo. All other features are the same, and the engines and control panels are the same as those used for the non-turbo 810/820.

QMS and Apple printers have always been similar products because they both use Canon engines and Adobe-based controllers. In order to compete with Apple, QMS designed versions that ran a little faster and had a few more features. When QMS introduced the PS 810 in October of 1987, Apple was still selling the slow CX based LaserWriter Plus, a first generation PostScript product. The QMS-PS 810 was the hands down winner in every comparison article because it had the SX engine and the faster ASAP controller, plus more features for PC users. When the LaserWriter II NT was introduced in January of 1988, the PS-810 was still the preferred product because of the faster QMS ASAP technology and a 16 MHz processor (vs. the NT's 12 MHz processor). The NT didn't have a Centronics Parallel port or HP emulation, which, at the time, made it impractical for PC users, and the RAM on the NT was fixed at 2 megabytes. For a short time it looked like many faithful Apple customers were going to switch to QMS for their next printer.

Then Apple introduced the LaserWriter II NTX in February of 1988. The NTX was faster and more expandable than the PS-810 because it was based on the 68020 processor running at 16.67 MHz. (The 810's 68000 is a 16-bit processor; the NTX's 68020 is a 32-bit processor.

The NTX was also much more expandable (to an astounding 12 megabytes of RAM) than the 810, and it had a SCSI port for an optional hard disk that could be loaded with Adobe's huge library of fonts. Naturally, the NTX captured the professional DTP market for fast, low cost proofing for Linotronic imagesetters. The PS 810 was still very popular in its niche, but Apple had the premier product.

It wasn't until August of 1989 that QMS again got back into first place in the Adobe PostScript race with the PS 810 turbo. The processor was a 20 MHz 68020 with ASAP versus the 16 MHz of the NTX without ASAP. The turbo had 39 fonts resident instead of 35, and the list price was $1000 less. Maximum RAM was 8 MB, which is plenty for virtually any application though not as much as the NTX. Like NTX, the 810 turbo had a SCSI interface for more fonts on-line. However, by the time the 810 turbo was introduced, the industry was buzzing with talk about RISC processors that were far faster than the NTX. So the 810 turbo turned out to be too little, too late to catch the attention of the market. It never stole the show as it would have if it had been introduced soon after the NTX.

Up until 1992, the PS-810 turbo was probably the best printer available for proofing Linotronic. It is an authentic Adobe implementation rather than a clone, and it can use a SCSI hard drive. Adobe is just beginning to introduce printers based on RISC technology. Most of the faster RISC based printers execute clones of Adobe PostScript. The clones are getting very good, but experts will notice that sometimes the fonts and graphics produced by some clones are not quite the same as those procuced by true Adobe.

The Printer Works offers PS 810 turbo printers and PS 810 turbo controller board upgrade kits to convert other types of SX and TX based printers. Please check with us for great deals on these excellent products.


The resident typefaces are the standard Adobe "Plus" set of 35 with four variations of Helvetica Condensed added to make a total of 39 faces. Evidently, Helvetica Condensed was once more popular with professional typesetters than Helvetica Narrow.


The QMS-PS 810/820 turbo has been discontinued, but The Printer Works can build them from parts at special request. Refurbished printers are in like-new condition and come with a Six-month warranty. For a price quote, select the printer's part number in the ordering information table.

Controller Notes

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

[QMS-PS 815 Turbo Controller]

Controller Specifications
Part Number 2905145-902
Designer QMS
Manufacturer QMS & Adobe
Design Similar to None
Std. Emulations PostScript, LaserJet+ (HP-PCL), Diablo 630, HP 7475A (HP-GL)
Opt. Emulations None
Emulation Brand Adobe
CPU & Clock Rate 68020 @ 20 MHz
Bitmap Resolution (max) 300 X 300
RET None
Base RAM 2 Megabyte
Max RAM 8 Megabytes
ROM 1 Megabyte
Font Cartridges None
Control Panel Type OEM LED Display
Standard Interfaces RS-232, RS 422/AppleTalk, Centronics Parallel, SCSI
Optional Interfaces None

The 810 turbo controller represents the third generation of QMS/Adobe ASAP technology. The same PCBA is used in the 820 turbo. Standard base RAM is 2 megabytes and 2 additional megabytes can be plugged into sockets provided without changing a custom PAL! A 4 Mbyte daughter board from QMS provides additional expansion to 8 megabytes. HP LaserJet emulation is included and works well for most programs. With the fast processor and Adobe's nifty emulation that builds HP fonts from the scalable Adobe library, the PS-810 turbo in PCL mode is faster than a real LaserJet II. No functionality boards are needed as all firmware is on the main board.

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 QMS-PS 810/820 use the same toner cartridges as all other SX-based printers.


The 810/820 printers use 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. (See also Diagram 300.)


Standard base RAM is 2 MB and an additional 1 or 2 megabytes can be plugged into sockets on the 810 turbo motherboard. Unlike the PS 810, you do not need to change any other chips when adding this memory. A 4 MB RAM expansion card from QMS may then be added to bring the memory up to 8 megabytes.


The PS 815/825 controllers have some very nice features that the earlier models lacked. These controllers have eliminated the interface/emulation selection switch by making all the interfaces active with automatic interface selection and automatic emulation sensing. The simple LED status panel is also replaced by a full-function LCD control panel. For improved print quality, the PS 815MR/825MR (Multi-Resolution) controller offers selectable 300 or 600 dpi resolution. One feature lacking on both the 815 and the 815 MR is the SCSI interface used for attaching an external hard drive. To upgrade to the PS 815/825 or the PS-815MR/825MR, the control panel must be changed in addition to the controller.

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 NumberDescription
5250026-901 Printer, QMS-PS 810 turbo
5250034-901 Printer, QMS-PS 820 turbo, Refurbished
2905145-902 Controller, QMS-PS 810/820 turbo
2600059-901 Memory, 1 MB Kit for QMS-PS 810/820 turbo
2600059-902 Memory, 2 MB Kit for QMS-PS 810/820 turbo
2600059-903 Memory PCBA, 4 MB for QMS-PS 810/820 turbo
11800114-001A Manual, User's Guide, QMS-PS 810/820 turbo
7017599003 Software, QMS-PS Executive
7599005 Software, QMS-PS Executive HP-GL
5100000-901 SCSI Hard Disk, 20 MB for QMS-PS 810/820 turbo
5100000-902 SCSI Hard Disk, 40 MB for QMS-PS 810/820 turbo

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

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