The PDF Guide: File Size And Creation Time Tested

PDF Creation At Its Best

A vast majority of our readers are either enthusiasts or something very close to it, thanks to a profound interest in all things technical. You’re typically interested in maximizing performance, and you know what sort of hardware it takes to cut through your favorite games and productivity apps. 

In many cases, though, you don’t necessarily have to upgrade your hardware to achieve better overall performance. We decided to take a very mainstream usage model as an example: Adobe PDF file creation. We're checking and comparing five different PDF creation tools according to their performance and file size.

We looked into file compression tools a few months ago, and we found significant performance and file size differences between the various tools, including 7-Zip, FreeArc, WinRAR, and WinZip. Since file compression and archiving can require lots of computing power, depending on the files with which you're working, this was a great real-life application for modern multi-core PCs. However, these tools typically work on their own archive formats.

The creation of platform-independent documents is a bit different. The dominant standard is Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF), and it allows computer users to open and manage PDF documents without requiring the software on which the document was initially created. PDF creation also requires substantial computing power when high-resolution images or complex multi-page presentations are involved, but the standard and format are decidedly mainstream.

Hence, this is the perfect basis for another performance comparison using a state-of-the-art six-core processor. We obtained five different solutions, including Adobe’s own Acrobat 9. Is Adobe’s tool faster? Does it provide better PDF image quality? Can its file size be shrunk even further? We know, we know. The site is called Tom's Hardware. But what good would the best components out there be if we didn't have interesting workloads to drop on them?