Author Topic: FreeArc - Best Freeware for Mod Archives  (Read 63 times)


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FreeArc - Best Freeware for Mod Archives
« on: April 02, 2017, 03:01:36 AM »
Using TWD v0.91 mod files (mostly .LVL format), I recently tested several file archiver programs on maximum compression settings, to compare them to 7z and installforge compression ratios. Some of these programs claimed to be the best but weren't. KGB Archiver was by far the slowest and took almost an hour to compress.

TWD v0.91 Files
Uncompressed = 539mb
InstallForge .EXE = 199mb
WinZIP = 192mb
WinRar .RAR = 170mb
KGB Archiver = 168mb
WinRar .RAR5 = 160mb
UHARC = 142mb
7-zip = 136mb
FreeArc .EXE = 129mb
FreeArc .ARC = 128mb

Some nice features included in FreeArc:
- The highest compression of all programs for most files, even better than 7z. For extremely large mod LVL archives, this is the best program to use. The testing charts shown here also prove it
- Supports protection and repair of damaged archives
- Includes exe auto extractor like installforge except with a minimal graphics design
- Different compression levels use completely different algorithms including bzip2 for very fast compression
- Features the strongest encryption algorithm, AES/Blowfish/Twofish/Serpent encryption with keyfiles support and ability to chain multiple ciphers
This may seem outdated, but you should take another look. For absolute compression size vs speed, this remains the best option. We are migrating a very large amount of data across the 'net to an Amazon cloud setup. When it came time to migrate large files, we tested 7z, WinRar, ZHuff, and FreeArc, because we needed command line versions of the applications. When running at comparable compression speeds (in KBpS compressed), FreeArc was significantly better than any of the other options, and when run at maximum compression, blew away all of the other tested compressors at their maximums in terms of size vs time. It is old, and minimalist, and has some issues that need to be fixed (i.e. clicking the 'Background' button on the GUI does not reduce the process priority on Windows - it just hides the interface). But for file compression in a reasonable time, it is well worth it.

Once I made some tests and FreeArc compressed better than 7-Zip in most cases. As far as I remember it lost to KuaiZip (free archiver with proprietary KZ compression format) only when compressing image files (I think that KuaiZip beats all archivers when compressing images). I like FreeArc very much since it compresses well, is stable (on my machine) and is truly portable- FreeArc portable integration to Windows Shell is easy, simple and excellent in contrast with for example Bandizip (the portable version is only x32 and cannot integrate to Windows shell) and PeaZip (which requires to run additional tool).

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