I recently wrote an article about RIPs, or Raster Image Processors, and products that are similar to RIPs for the March issue of Professional Photographer magazine. After looking closely at all of them, I was surprised to see how many features have been added to many of the RIPs over the years. Even though I primarily print directly from Photoshop or Lightroom to the standard driver, there are many reasons why one might choose a RIP.
You can find the article on RIPs here.
I also recommend Professional Photographer magazine to any working (or aspiring) pro photographer. The image quality, ink on paper reproduction, and editorial content are fantastic. The content includes marketing tips, reviews of DSLRs and many other products, lighting advice and many inspirational stories about people and the people, places and things they photograph. Subscription information (digital and print editions), can be found here.