We're taking a look at the the features, performance, and compression rates of four file archiving and compression tools: the free and open source 7-Zip, the heavyweight WinRAR, the old-school WinZip, and the lesser-known MagicRAR.
Everyone who regularly works with computers handles compressed files on an almost daily basis, we'd guess. The archives come in many shapes and sizes, and you might not even realize that some files are compressed: software installation packages, picture formats, audio files, and many videos, for example.
Of course, the basic idea behind file compression is to decrease the space needed to store data, and, perhaps more important, cut down on the time it takes to transfer that information. That's the reason most folks compress their files. Perhaps you're using an email server with attachment limits, or maybe you're archiving your important user data for backup. In those cases, the time it takes to complete a compression job is ultimately less important than the compression rate you're able to achieve.
There are many tools for Windows that promise all of the compression and archiving functionality that anyone could ever need. The vast majority of them can handle ZIP, the most commonly-used compression format, along with a number of other popular formats, such as 7z, RAR, TAR, and GZIP.
Today, we benchmark three of the most well-known archiving and compression tools: 7-Zip, WinRAR, and WinZip. Not only do they support a massive number of formats, but they also integrate with Windows Explorer, making their functionality easy to access from where it’s actually needed. Some of the tools even offer additional features. For example, the latest version of WinZip include social media and cloud functionality. The more exotic MagicRAR, which claims to triple Windows’s built-in full-disk compression functionality, completes today’s round-up.
- Compression: Your Data, On A Diet
- 7-Zip 9.28b
- MagicRAR 8.0
- WinRAR 4.2
- WinZip 17 Pro
- Benchmark System, Software, And Settings
- Results: Proprietary Formats, HT Enabled
- Results: Proprietary Formats, HT Disabled
- Results: ZIP Format, HT Enabled
- Results: ZIP Format, HT Disabled
- Hyper-Threading Comparison: Proprietary And ZIP
- WinZip: OpenCL Versus CPU Performance
- And The Undisputed Winner Is...