As Microsoft Windows is the most dominant OS in the world (and I also have the access to same), I have carried out some tests to determine which may be best compression software.
Disclaimer: The results presented in this post are purely based on my limited research and in no way is extensive or binding. Readers are suggested to evaluate the softwares by themselves and then decide what is suitable to them. These results are my observations and your results for same/similar test may vary. I cannot be hold responsible for any consequence due to these results.
Well lets see what I have done:
Test Rig: Intel C2D E7200 Processor, with 2 GB 800MHz DDR2 RAM & Seagate Barracuda 320 GB SATA HDD. I also run Avast Home Edition with Panda Cloud Anti-virus & MalwareBytes Anti-Malware & Online Armor Free Edition on Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit Edition..
What is compressed: The set consisted of a large number of ‘txt’ and ‘html’ files also quite a few number of ‘mov’ files. Other files in the bunch were ‘doc’, ‘docx’, ‘odt’, ‘pptx’, jpg’, ‘png’, ‘psd’ and ‘log’ with few more. The total number of files were 312 spread over 16 directories/folder. Total Size of the files 269 MB.
Other Conditions: The compression was done 3 times in each format using each software and compression settings was set to Ultra/Highest/Maximum. The priority of the process was left at normal in each test. The time required for compression, and maximum memory requirements were averaged.
Softwares tested: The following Software were tested:
- WinZip Version 14.5 — Homepage Download
- 7-Zip Version 4.65 — Homepage Download
- Winrar Version 3.93 — Homepage Download
- PeaZip Version 2.13 — Homepage Download
Results: Now coming to result comparison, the results are put in a tabular format for quick Viewing
|Software||Software Size||Compression Format||Archive Size||Time reqd||RAM usage||Other Features|
|Winzip||13.8 MB||zipx||170 MB||202 sec||178 MB||
|zip||212 MB||38 sec||10 MB|
|7-Zip||0.9 MB||7z||161 MB||121 sec||152 MB||
|zip||209 MB||164 sec||29 MB|
|WinRar||1.3 MB||rar||166 MB||103 sec||41 MB||
|zip||212 MB||34 sec||6 MB|
|PeaZip||6.6 MB||pea||211 MB||107 sec||10 MB||
|zip||209 MB||231 sec||36 MB|
Final thought on each software
Winzip is perhaps the most famous compression software. Its latest offering in much more than an compression software and that is the problem. The performance as compression software is average at best, high resource consumption and creation of larger zip files tilts the balance against Winzip. Rating 2.5 out of 5
7-zip is is perhaps the most famous free/GPL compression software and rightly so, the highest compression in its native 7z format as compared to any other format is a big positive and even though its interface is simple it is able to do an excellent job. However, a better documentation for some of the technical features will help users to utilize the best of it. Rating 4.5 out of 5
WinRar is second most famous compression software and it looses to 7-zip by a small margin in compression. However, the fastest compression as compared to other softwares and incredibly low RAM usage and excellent usability makes its a ideal buy for corporate environment and for individuals who can afford it. Rating 5 out of 5
PeaZip has come up as an excellent alternative to 7-zip is GPL/free compression software. It offers the high level of encryption and supports creation of numerous archive format. The interface is simple and easy to use however the compression in its native format can be rated as poor. The software can utilize 7-zip core and compress in 7z format however, the memory optimization for using this core is missing and continuous memory usage in range of 650 – 700 MB was there upon testing multiple times. Some optimization in the code for memory consumption and it can become new king of GPL/free compression software. Rating 3.5 out of 5 .
MY VERDICT: Go for WinRar if you can afford to or 7-zip if you are looking for a free and stable compression software.