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

WinZip 17 Pro

WinZip is the classic file archiving and compression tool, and no round-up of such tools is complete without it. This product has been on the market for no less than 22 years (since 1991). And there are good reasons that it has been around so long. Although it trailed the competition for a while, it does seem to get faster with each successive version. Now that Corel owns it, we've seen significant changes and improvements to the software's design and usability.

The current version of the most-used file archiving and compression tool (according to the company’s website) is WinZip 17, and it’s still all about compressing and decompressing ZIP files. WinZip’s functions are accessible via the built-in file manager, Windows Explorer, or command line. ZIP archives can be encrypted using 128-bit or 256-bit AES, and 7z, BZ2, CAB, IMG, LHA/LZH, ISO, RAR, and ZipX formats are also supported.

WinZip does more than just compress and extract files. The current version allows you to share ZIP archives via sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It also lets you upload them directly to the cloud with support for services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and SkyDrive. And that’s not all. Since version 17, WinZip can use the processing power of AMD, Nvidia, and Intel GPUs to improve performance via OpenCL. While we benchmarked the Pro version of WinZip, there aren’t any performance differences between it and the Standard version. The Pro version simply includes additional features, such as built-in data backup. It also supports picture display with gestures on touchscreen-enabled devices.

The Standard version of this classic file archiving and compression tool can be had for $30 after the free 45-day shareware evaluation period ends. Our benchmarks show that WinZip can compete with WinRAR when it comes to speed. Then again, this is only enough for a shared second place, with 7-Zip taking first.