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WinRAR 3.92 Beta 1 And WinZip 14

Four Compression And Archiving Solutions Compared
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WinRAR 3.92 Beta 1

WinRAR by RAR Labs is available here. We’ve been using WinRAR for quite a while as a key benchmarking tool, since this is one of the most popular archiving solutions that supports multiple threads. In this article, we're using the latest version 3.92 beta 1, which works reliably.

WinRAR fully supports RAR and ZIP archives, and it’s capable of decompressing CAB, ARJ, LZH, TAR, GZ, ACE, UUE, BZ2, JAR, ISO, 7z, and Z archives. Like the other tools examined here, it also supports command line or GUI operation. WinRAR accommodates self-extracting archives and also supports archive encryption with up to 128-bit AES.

WinRAR comes with a wizard, which is a handy addition for consumers. WinRAR is the only program in this comparison that supports the creation of multi-volume archives. This may not sound important, but multi-volume is very useful if you need to send a larger amount of data to an email account with tight capacity limits. In such cases, WinRAR can split data into more appropriately-sized chunks. There are multiple add-ons for WinRAR, allowing you to customize and enhance the software for various operating systems.

Since version 3.91, WinRAR also supports the 7z format with LZMA2 (decompression). This format tends to yield great performance results. There are different versions for 32- and 64-bit operating systems, but we found little variance between them. So far, 15 languages are available for WinRAR 3.92 beta 1. And if you like a little more flare, WinRAR can be customized with themes.

WinZip 14

Last, but not least, is WinZip, available through winzip.com. This is the most popular archiving tool, but it shows two very different faces in our testing. On one hand, it integrates well with the operating system and has excellent usability. Version 14 is what you want if you’re using Windows Vista or 7. On the other hand, WinZip still has yet to distribute workloads across multiple processing cores, so it’s awfully slow when you use LZMA or the Best Method setting. Even on regular ZIP files, performance is only average. The Best Method setting selects the best compression algorithm for the file types you throw at the application.

WinZip can create three different types of archives: ZIP, ZIPX, and LHA. But the software can read many more types, such as RAR, 7z, BZ2, JAR, image (IMG, ISO), and cabinet files (CAB). If you work with large ZIP files a lot, you’ll be happy to hear that WinZip 14 can handle ZIPs above 4GB. The program also allows users to add 128- or 256-bit AES encryption to archives for security. An auto-wipe feature makes sure that temporarily extracted data from encrypted archives gets shredded right away. Also, WinZip 14 is accelerated by Intel’s AES-NI functionality, available on Clarkdale-based Core i5 CPUs (and the Gulftown-based Core i7-980X).

I should underline that we couldn’t try all of WinZip’s features, as the feature list is impressively long. Windows 7 support alone is pretty comprehensive. For example, the application supports gestures on touchscreens, Explorer preview, and so-called jump lists to facilitate access to ZIP features and files. The latest version also supports resizing of photos when you’re about to compress and email them through Explorer integration. Other tools offer similar integration, but not this extensive of a feature set. WinZip does multi-volume, the integrated FTP client allows you to back up archives via upload (Backup and Pro versions only), and both command line support and creation of self-extracting archives are included.

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    jsowoc , March 10, 2010 6:01 AM
    7-zip also supports multi-volume archives (at least the stable 4.65). It's an option called "volume size", and you automatically get a multi-volume archive.
  • 14 Hide
    jsowoc , March 10, 2010 6:30 AM
    I disagree with the way weighting was assigned, as simply a product of processing time and file size. I have a tool that would win: gnu tar. It does not do any compression, and should be able to "compress" the 650 MB workload into 650 MB in whatever time it takes to read/write the data. An overall "score" should factor in how you might use the compressed data.

    In my opinion, the tradeoff between speed and compression depends on what you want to do with the data. Assuming you have a 56kbps modem connection, you'd spend the extra hour compressing if it saved 25 MB. However, if you have a 1 Mbps line, the same file savings of 25 MB would only be worth 4 minutes of your time. In the case of storing to (fast) local backup, the shift should be even more toward faster compression.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , March 10, 2010 11:53 AM
    7-zip also has the option of integrating with the OS via contextual menus, but for some reason the devs do not do this by default on installation.
    You have to open the program options and enable the contextual menus, which improve 7-zip's usability significantly.
Other Comments
  • -6 Hide
    kahwaji_n , March 10, 2010 5:13 AM
    why tomshardware remove the Print Option from all the Articles?
    really too bad:( 
  • 9 Hide
    ricardok , March 10, 2010 5:59 AM
    Do people still use WinZip??

    Also, with every new WinZip version what else they change apart from some graphics on the GUI?? I've realized "Zip" was a bad choice since the LHA/ARJ days...
  • 16 Hide
    jsowoc , March 10, 2010 6:01 AM
    7-zip also supports multi-volume archives (at least the stable 4.65). It's an option called "volume size", and you automatically get a multi-volume archive.
  • 14 Hide
    jsowoc , March 10, 2010 6:30 AM
    I disagree with the way weighting was assigned, as simply a product of processing time and file size. I have a tool that would win: gnu tar. It does not do any compression, and should be able to "compress" the 650 MB workload into 650 MB in whatever time it takes to read/write the data. An overall "score" should factor in how you might use the compressed data.

    In my opinion, the tradeoff between speed and compression depends on what you want to do with the data. Assuming you have a 56kbps modem connection, you'd spend the extra hour compressing if it saved 25 MB. However, if you have a 1 Mbps line, the same file savings of 25 MB would only be worth 4 minutes of your time. In the case of storing to (fast) local backup, the shift should be even more toward faster compression.
  • 4 Hide
    gracefully , March 10, 2010 6:41 AM
    kahwaji_nwhy tomshardware remove the Print Option from all the Articles?really too bad


    They did not. Look for the printer icon near the top of the "Comments" header.
  • -4 Hide
    kahwaji_n , March 10, 2010 6:47 AM
    jakobbg how smart u are , this print only the current Page(i think u can do it from your browser! right Mr. Smart), what i meant is gone the Print article Option, OK take some omega3 (very good for brain)
  • -5 Hide
    Sihastru , March 10, 2010 6:57 AM
    Using an SSD to to archival/compression tests? Most of us use slow, "green", rotating platters for that. Any speed advantage 7zip has over winrar or winzip will disappear when you switch your expensive and puny-sized SSD with a cheap, reliable, multi-TB mechanical HDD.

    What is left is OS/application integration/adoption and there winzip is best. Winrar comes in a well deserved second place, for some of it's more interesting functions, that the others do not offer (like deep recursion into a given folder and auto decompression of all found archives, no matter the packaging method).
  • 2 Hide
    shreeharsha , March 10, 2010 7:02 AM
    Very useful article, Thanks.
  • -4 Hide
    Chipi , March 10, 2010 7:26 AM
    So you tested a beta version of WinRAR even though the final is out for some time now... Good job!

    My guess is that they removed the printer friendly version because anyone was able to read an article before it was published (and complete).
  • 0 Hide
    iye , March 10, 2010 9:18 AM
    WinACE used to be a very good piece of software, and quite popular too. Why is isn't included in this review?
  • 1 Hide
    mariushm , March 10, 2010 9:40 AM
    iyeWinACE used to be a very good piece of software, and quite popular too. Why is isn't included in this review?


    Because it was probably last updated around February 2008?
  • -4 Hide
    zipdrive , March 10, 2010 9:45 AM
    A point to consider when talking about multi-thread operation:
    When running a compression with 7z on a dual-core machine, wouldn't using both cores cause the entire machine to chug and be unresponsive? I find it more useful to just let it (and other software) use a single thread - it may take longer, but I can still use the computer all the while.
  • 6 Hide
    cscott_it , March 10, 2010 10:21 AM
    It makes me glad that I was a moderately early adopter of 7-zip. Although probably the nicest thing about it is that it will correctly decompress several things that aren't "supported".
  • -3 Hide
    eltoro , March 10, 2010 11:12 AM
    The review date is March 10th, and WinRAR 3.92 beta 1 was used in the review even though the final version was released enough time before the the review date.
    "Last updated: 15 February 2010
    * WinRAR and RAR 3.92 release"

    Strange...
  • 7 Hide
    randomizer , March 10, 2010 11:23 AM
    The review was originally published a month ago on the German THG. So there's nothing "suspicious" about using a beta of WinRAR, because the final did not exist when the testing was done.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , March 10, 2010 11:29 AM
    The thing I hate about 7-zip is the crappy icons, but everything else is dandy.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , March 10, 2010 11:51 AM
    The article is incorrect that WinRAR is the only one that supports multi-volume archives. 7-Zip has supported this for several years now (since late 2005, iirc).
  • 3 Hide
    climber , March 10, 2010 11:52 AM
    I've been hammering Corel whenever I talk to a company rep about multi-threading, all the way back to around 2001, and Corel owns Winzip now. I am a Corel user, have been since 1993, I'm a winzip user, have been since PKZip 2.5x. I hope Corel gets with the whole multi-threaded world, even though it is more complicated to program, because we all know future performance and efficiency is not through clock speeds but through parallelism.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , March 10, 2010 11:53 AM
    7-zip also has the option of integrating with the OS via contextual menus, but for some reason the devs do not do this by default on installation.
    You have to open the program options and enable the contextual menus, which improve 7-zip's usability significantly.
  • -2 Hide
    ctbaars , March 10, 2010 12:09 PM
    I have IZArc. How does that fit into this?
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