Differences between PCL5/6 and PCL3


Differences between PCL 5/6 and PCL 3

PCL 5/ 6
Prints complex graphical images in standard memory
To print out some graphical data, the printer needs a faster image processing printer language like PCL3GUI or High Performance Architecture.
Object-based language used to describe images. Many objects such as squares, rectangles, lines, arcs, circles and etc can be defined by object-based language. Benefit: For these objects, the image can be described using less data than the corresponding pixel description used in PCL3GUI.
Pixel-based printer language that primarily describes images by pixel. For the same objects like square, rectangles, etc, more data is required. Although bitmaps and other complicated picture type objects use object based language, they are still described in pixels because of their complexity.
PCL 5/6 supports downloadable fonts as well as scalable fonts. It also has better capability to rasterize the image compared to the GL2 driver.
Does not support downloadable or scalable fonts
Conversion time from EMF to the PCL5/6 object data is less. This reduces the CPU time required. Users have all of the resources of the computer available to them more quickly after starting a print job.
For most EMF object and images, it takes more Central Processing Unit (CPU) bandwidth to convert the EMF to the PCL3GUI pixel data.


PCL5/6 printers need more printer memory or at times printer hard disk to rasterize the fonts/images in printer instead of computer system.
The PCL3GUI driver, in general, will use more memory on the computer than the PCL5/6 drivers when creating the RAW data files. PCL3GUI printers appear as a less expensive overall printing solution as the initial purchase price is usually less compared to the PCL5/6 printers. This is because they require less memory RAM and less processing power on each printer.


In a network environment, a print server can efficiently control more PCL5/6 printers than PCL3GUI printers. Generally, PCL5/6 printers with higher print speed are for network-enabled printers
When using a client/server use model where print jobs are sent from the client to the server and formatted on the server, the more the users share a fixed bunch of personal printers networked together using the same server, the slower the performance.