Comparison of JetDirect cards

Some notes on various HP JetDirect cards. The JetDirect card was a card which plugged into an EIO port on an HP printer, and gave it an ethernet port. It contained an embedded print server which would listen to lpd, ipp and http connections, as well as telnet for some configuration. There were also external JetDirect boxes which connected to generic printers via USB or parallel ports. These are not discussed here.

Although EIO is effectively 32 bit 33MHz PCI in a different form-factor, in practice transfer rates are a lot slower than one would expect from PCI.

The table below gives a comparison of all the EIO JetDirect cards of which I am aware. The 600n was released c. 2000, and the 695n c. 2012. In 2017 the 620n, 640n and 695n were all still available for purchase from HP, but with very unattractive list prices of $380, $480 and $500. Amazon listed "new" cards at under $30 for the 620n, but around $250 for the 640n.

CardEthernetTransfer speed  Notes
600n (J3111A)10MBit/sc.0.5MB/s2MB flash
610n (J4169A)10/100MBit/s2MB/s
615n (J6057A)10/100MBit/s4.5MB/s2MB flash, 8MB RAM. Adds HTTPS. Prone to sudden failure, and subject to a recall
620n (J7934G)10/100MBit/s6MB/s4MB flash, 16MB RAM
625n (J7960G)10/100/1000MBit/s6.5MB/s4MB flash, 16MB RAM
630n (J7997G)10/100/1000MBit/s6.5MB/s8MB flash, 32MB RAM. Adds IPv6
635n (J7961A) 10/100/1000MBit/s6.5MB/s8MB flash, 32MB RAM.
640n (J8025A)10/100/1000MBit/s32MB flash, 512MB RAM. Optional WiFi module.
680n (J6058A)wireless only 4MB flash, 802.11b
690n (J8007G)10/100MBit/s 8MB flash, 32MB RAM, 802.11b/g.
695nw (J8024A) 640n with 2700w (J8026A) wireless 802.11b/g/n USB2 module.

Some of the above are available with HP part numbers ending in both an "A" and a "G" (e.g. J7934A and J7934G). In most cases the "G" version is certified as being RoHS-compliant, and the "A" version is not (even if it may be identical). Some of the above also exist in subvarients with different connectivity. The 600n is found with a single RJ45 ethernet port (J3111A), or with USB-1, serial (RS-232) and localtalk ports (J4135A). The 610n may have Token Ring (J4167A) in place of ethernet (J4169A). Do not purchase from the 6xxn number alone!

Although the transfer speeds may seem rather slow, how many HP printers can interpret PostScript at more than a couple of MB/s?

The functionality of the embedded web server will depend on the printer which the card is plugged into. It is believed that printers can generally accept cards more modern than themselves, although some of the more modern ones do draw more power (the 620n is 2W, the 635n 3.7W, and more recent cards state 4.0W). Power matters as unlike PCI which supplies power at 5V and 12V, EIO supplies power at 3.3V only (and uses 3.3V signalling), so much less power is available than one might expect. The 635n is the most recent card to mention the DesignJet 1050/1055 as being compatible.

Most modern HP printers have ethernet built in, and don't need these cards.

Third-party cards were also available. In particular, SEH Technology produced a range of JetDirect-like cards, including one, the PS1126, with a 1000BaseSX (i.e. 1GBit/s fibre) interface. The PS1106 had the more common 10/100/1000 copper interface.

Disks were also often used in EIO slots. The datasheet for the Color LaserJet 5550 series describes an "optional 20GB hard disk with 22MB per second throughput speed". The disk was the J6073A and this suggests that the EIO interface is capable of at least 22MB/s (and no more than 132MB/s if it is based on 32 bit 33MHz PCI).