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Compression Comparison Guide Rev. 2.0
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WinRK was the best compressor in most filesets it encountered. So, it was not surprising that it was the overall compression champion. However, its performance was offset by its abysmally slow performance. Even with a really fast system, it still took ages to compress the filesets. On several occasions, it took almost 40 minutes to compress just 200MB of files. Thanks to this flaw, it had the dubious honour of being the most inefficient compressor as well.

SBC Archiver, which was just slightly poorer than WinRK at compression, was much faster at the job. Although it was nowhere near the top of the speed rankings, its faster speed allowed it to attain a moderate efficiency ranking.

WinRAR, which is a favourite of many Internet users, displayed a surprisingly bland performance at maximum settings. Although it had a pretty good overall compression rate of just over 19%, it was quite slow. That made it a rather inefficient compressor. In fact, it was less efficient than SBC Archiver. Pretty surprising.

In contrast, another perennial favourite, WinZip showed real mettle at its maximum setting. It had about the same compression power as WinRAR, but was faster. This made it much more efficient than WinRAR. Those who abandoned it in favour of newer compressors like WinAce and WinRAR would do well to reconsider it.

StuffIt is quite a surprise. It has a pretty good compression rate with an average compression speed. Couple that with its amazing performance with JPEG files, you have a serious contender. With that said, you should remember that most of StuffIt's advantage lies in its JPEG compression performance.

gzip and ARJ32 are both the fastest and the worst compressors of the lot. They have unimpressive overall compression rates but more than make up for it with their tremendous compression speeds. Therefore, it isn't surprising to see them garner the top two spots in compressor efficiency. However, we would still recommend GUI alternatives like WinZip, especially if you are not comfortable using a command prompt.

Based on our results, we can only come to one conclusion. If you do not like to change the settings of your data compressors and want a really good data compressor (and are willing to sacrifice some speed), then WinZip or StuffIt is the best one for the job. StuffIt is especially good, if you compress lots of JPEG files.

So there you have it - the results of the Maximum Compression Test. Click here to go back to the test results index.


Questions & Comments

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Date Revision Revision History
29-11-2002 1.0

Initial release.

15-04-2007 2.0 Part 1

Part 1 of the new compression comparison guide released.

23-04-2007 2.0 Part 2

Part 2 of the new compression comparison guide released.

28-04-2007 2.0 Part 3

Part 3 of the new compression comparison guide released.

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