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Compression Performance: 7-Zip, MagicRAR, WinRAR, WinZip

MagicRAR 8.0

Next to 7-Zip, WinRAR, and WinZip, MagicRAR is a little more obscure. Not only is it the least-known compression utility in our round-up, but it’s also the only one that doesn’t have its own compression format, or make use of more than one processor core (Update: MagicRAR's author let us know that the software's 7z format is able to utilize two cores for compression jobs. Our tests were limited to the ZIP format, though switching to 7z wouldn't have made much difference, given the threading optimizations of 7-Zip). A single installer package contains both the 32- and 64-bit versions of the software. MagicRAR costs $25 from the company’s online store.

Since MagicRAR lacks its own compression format, this app doesn’t give preferential treatment to any one format, but rather leaves this choice completely up to the user. There are many formats to choose from and, because MagicRAR supports practically all of the popular compression formats via plug-ins, it’s easy to add support for new compression formats at any time. MagicRAR self-confidently markets itself as the tool to use if you need to use all compression formats. Due to the large number of included plug-ins, it was able to handle every format that we threw at it during our benchmarks.

As far as Windows Explorer integration, MagicRAR offers the context menu command “Find Smallest Archive”, which recommends the best format for the selected files and/or folders. This makes the decision of which compression format to use quite easy. The software also offers recursive decompression, which means that it can extract archives that are spread throughout multiple subfolders. MagicRAR comes with its own file manager and integrates with Microsoft Outlook.

The last way that MagicRAR stands out from the competition is, unfortunately, something that’ll give enthusiasts second thoughts. According to its developer, this application is supposed to yield especially good performance on SSDs. However, our benchmarks don’t bear this out. In fact, we found the opposite to be true. No other tool takes as long to compress files on SSDs, with only ZIP performance rating as acceptable.