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Investigating Their Performance

The ZIP format has been the most popular compression format for many years. Since it's an open-source format, many software offer support for it. However, newer formats like the RAR and ACE formats are gradually catching up in popularity. This is because the inventors of those compression formats have been actively improving their software over the years. As such, practically all other data compression formats offer much better compression than the ZIP format.

While usability of each utility also depend greatly on the design of the user interface (console or graphical) and its features, we will not be touching on them in this performance guide. Instead, we will focus purely on the performance of each data compressor. This will allow you to compare the compression rate and speed of the more popular data compressors for the PC.

Although there are countless data compressors out there, it would be impossible to compare all of them because of the sheer number of such utilities that sprout up all the time and unfortunately, die ignominious deaths. So, we will merely concentrate our efforts on the following data compression software and add new ones over time :-

Data Compressor
Version
Format
User Interface
Price
(Single License)
Price
(Upgrade)
Source
7-Zip
4.44 Beta
7z
GUI
FREE - Donation
FREE - Donation
ARJ32
3.14a
ARJ
Console
USD 45.00
NA
bzip2
1.04
bzip2
Console
FREE
FREE
gzip
1.3.5
gzip
Console
FREE
FREE
SBC Archiver
0.970 Rev. 2
SBC
Console
FREE
FREE
Squeez
5.6
SQX
GUI
Euro 24.90
Euro 12.90
StuffIt Deluxe
9.5
SITX
GUI
USD 39.99
USD 14.99
WinAce
2.65
ACE
GUI
USD 29.00
NA
WinRAR
3.70 beta 6
RAR
GUI
USD 29.00
FREE for all versions
WinRK
3.0.3 beta
RK
GUI
USD 29.95
NA
WinZip
11.0
ZIP
GUI
USD 29.00
FREE for all versions

As you can see, the data compression software that we are going to test are a selection of old stalwarts, as well as current popular formats. But instead of just testing them at the default settings, we are going to examine each data compressor at their fastest and best compression settings as well.

 

The Benchmark Fileset

To obtain an accurate idea of how well each compressor will perform in real world, we have specially created a data compression benchmark. The fileset consists of 10 standard categories covering all the common file types as well as a special category. All categories have a size of at least 200,000,000 bytes.

Categories
Fileset
Total Size (bytes)
Audio Files - WAV
(Highly Compressible)
24 WAV files
200,001,146
Audio Files - MP3
(Poorly Compressible)
35 MP3 files
200,007,492
Documents
2004 HTML files
41 PPT files
124 DOC files
162 XLS files
200,007,960
E-Books
68 PDF files
200,009,231
Movies - DivX
6 DIVX files
200,228,230
Movies - MPEG
7 MPG files
200,100,660
Pictures - PSD
(Highly Compressible)
42 PSD files
200,010,869
Pictures - JPEG
( Poorly Compressible)
59 JPG files
200,001,026

Although some pundits may argue that there is no point in compressing files that are already compressed by nature (e.g. MP3, MPEG, JPEG, etc.), we have only one thing to say - when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.

As you will see later, the results of some of the newer compressors will surprise you. They can attain really amazing compression results even with files that are thought to be impossibly hard to compress. We wouldn't have discovered that if we did not test and merely assumed, would we?

Now, let's get on with the test results!



<<< Data Compressors : Previous Page   |   Next Page : Test System & Methodology, Test Results >>>

 

 
   
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