At work today, I decided to do a test of various file archivers/compressors. I didn’t test for compression time because that would require a set testbed, and I have actually work I need to do while this is going on. However, in terms of compression ratios, this might be a handy guide. I chose my computer’s Windows folder, as it is a good mix of some multimedia, text, and binary files. Arguably, my methodology could be better, but this is by no means a definitive test.

Compression Type Version Settings Short Size Specific Size Compression Ratio (higher is better)
None n/a 1.56GB 1’677’492’229 bytes 0.0%
zip1 Best 738 MB 774’632’117 bytes 53.83%
rar 3.5b4 / Best 641 MB 672’352’805 bytes 59.92%
7z 4.18b / Ultra 380 MB 399’218’775 bytes 76.21%
uha2 0.6 / PPM 418 MB 439’032’243 bytes 73.83%
ace 2.6 b5 / Maximum 523 MB 549’003’502 bytes 67.28%

Conclusions: The clear winner here is 7-zip. Not only was it relatively fast, but it even manages to beat the fabled UHARC compression (which, arguably, may show better results in a purely multimedia test, from which it draws its lofty reputation), and all with a neat interface akin to WinRAR (which still captures the best overall compressor award for its interface and extra functions). I was extremely surprised at how well the 7z compression fared.

  1. while I have linked to WinZip, perhaps the most synonymous to Windows users (just as pkunzip was to DOS users), the Zip algorithm isn’t really the product of WinZip in that same way that other types, like 7z or Rar, are the products of their respective programs.[]
  2. UHARC is a command line compressor. For this test, I used BRHack’s UHARC GUI 3.06 b6. Since UHARC doesn’t have a home page, per se, I’ve linked to the BRHack website.[]
§619 · May 20, 2005 · Tags: , ·

2 Comments to “On file compression, briefly”

  1. Nice test, maybe you can include the exact settings you used for every compressor like dictionary size, solid mode on or off etc.

    Regards,
    Werner

  2. […] 18 months ago, I did an informal test with GUI archivers and their various formats. Recently, I’ve been reading about data compression and formats, and got it into my head to do some more testing. […]

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