WinRar vs 7zip: Which is better?

File compression means to compress the files to save disk space and faster copying of data. Though media files like songs and movies can't be much compressed and have a very high compression ratio, But on the other hand #games and #applications have very low compression ratio, depending on the nature of files included in the application/game. The lower the compression ratio, the less is size of compressed file and it also increases the time to decompress the file too. But in nowadays we have a plenty of time to decompress as if we compress a game, it will become smaller in size and thus increasing free space in removable drives like flash drives. So it means we can carry four compressed games or one installed game at a time.

             Compression ratio = Compressed file size/Actual file size X 100

In easy language, If the full installed game is of 2 GB and the compressed version of it is of 1 GB, then the compression ratio is 50%, which is not bad if you want to carry more stuff in the same drive.
Now when it comes to choosing the best compression software, the following things should be kept in mind:

What determines how good is a compression software?

  • Does it have a good compression ratio?
  • Does it decompresses quickly?
  • Does it supports SFX (SelF EXtracting Archives) archives? (Optional)
  • Is it popular?
I will answer these four question by comparing two compression softwares, WinRar and 7Zip. You may be familiar with WinRar as it is replacing WinZip very quickly. Now, most pirated compressed softwares and games are compressed using WinRar. What has made WinRar this popular? And what about 7Zip. 7Zip is a new comer and has more power and less compression ratio that you can never imagined. In the end of this post I will show you the awesome power of 7Zip, so read the full post if you don't wanna miss the WOW part. So lets test these apps hand-to-hand.

Test 1: Compression Ratio

Compression ratio is the most important factor for any file compression software. As I have told you that the compression ratio is inversely proportional to the extraction time, but still having a low compression ratio is very useful.This is because of the following reasons
  • If the compression ratio is lower, then it will decrease the file size.
  • Download will complete quickly
  • Less #internet data will be used.
  • Your file will become popular in p2p sites, where people look for the smallest file size before downloading.
So after knowing the benefits, the time increased in extracting the files is negligible at all. Now lets see what you can compress with high and low compression ratio:

Media files: Like MP3, M4A and all video files have very high compression ratio of 99% or even 100%. So its useless to compress these files as media files have a different compression method, and that is by changing data rate and frequency. So you should never try to compress media files and use them as it is.

Documents: Like PDF, [.]Doc and others have also a negligible compression ratio around 95% to 100%
So there is no need to compress them. But if the document is a HTML file, then you shall get low compression ratios due to a number of uncompressed files present in the html website's content folder.

Games: Games are game changer in the compression ratio. You can get ratios from 0% to 100%. Basically it depends how the game is programmed and what resources does it use. For example, if the game has cut-scenes of [.]Bik format (Bink Video), it will have a high compression ratio and on the other hand if it uses gaming engine like RAGE and Euphoria, then it might be helpful as cut-scenes of games using these engine are generated on the spot and thus have a low compression ratio. One more plus point is that games have many raw files that are uncompressed so as to get faster game-play. So that is the reason you get very low compression ratio while compressing games.

So we will use a game in the compression test as most of the games have a low compression ratio.
So the test starts here, in the test I will compress the game GTA: San Andreas using two different software WinRar and 7Zip. Here are the specs of my PC:

CPU: Intel Dual Core E 5700 3.0 GHz
RAM: 2 GB DDR3 Kingston
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit (Genuine and not torrented)

So here the test starts, in this test I will try to compress San Andreas in a grouped manner. Lets see the file size before compression and after compression.
Note: The compression was done with highest setting possible and the game is untouched.

Results

File Size Summary

Size of different files/folders in MB (Mega Bytes). Lower is better

                       

File Size Graph

The below graph shows the folder size (In MB) before compression, after compression with Winrar and 7Zip.
P.S. Lower is better.
                              

Time Taken 

The below graph shows the time taken (In seconds) to compress with WinRar and 7Zip. 
P.S. Lower is better.


Compression Ratio

The below Graph shows the compression ratio of compressed folder using Winrar and 7Zip. 
P.S. Lower is better      

Summary Of Test 1

You should be pleased to know that both of the softwares have done their work in a good way. WinRar compressed a 4.7 GB game to 667 MB and on the other hand, the powerful guy 7Zip did it in only 476 MB which is around 10 times smaller than the original installed game. Apart from giving lower compression ratio, 7Zip has one problem, and that is it takes slightly more time than WinRar, but after all what matters is lower compression ratio and 7Zip did this perfectly.
So the winner of this round is 7Zip, Yipee!!!

Test 2: Decompression Speed

Decompression speed also plays an important role, but in the test I am testing only two software namely WinRar and 7Zip. In the both software, the decompression speed of compressed files is almost same. So there is no need to worry about this. I added this point to let you know about some more compression softwares like KGB Archiever and UHARC which may offer lower compression ratio but their decompression speed sucks and in some cases the speed of decompression maybe more than that of compression. So why use these apps when you can enjoy faster decompression and lower decompression time.
So the winner is : Draw Both WinRar and 7Zip have identical and fast decompression speed.

Test 3: SFX Archives Support

SFX archives are the compressed files that have the ability to decompress themselves without the need of root software installed that created them. For example a SFX based WinRar archive can be decompressed without using WinRar. They look more beautiful and helpful and just cost additional 500 KB to the archive. For example, a compressed [.]Rar archive is of 50 Mb then its SFX version will be of 50.5 MB. Below is a screenshot of how a SFX WinRar looks, the field that are blackened out can be edited manually as per needs of the user to personalize it.



Not only these fields, there are more tons features, I will tell them to you later after sometime. I will tell you more on how you can make your own WinRar SFX archive. So Stay tuned to the blog and subscribe for quicker access. So its obvious that SFX archives looks more good than extracting manually using WinRar. Now what about 7Zip? 7Zip also supports SFX archives but not in a better way WinRar does. In 7Zip, the user is given very less options to customize the SFX and the SFX archive looks boring too. Whatever, have a look below too:
7zip SFX archive


So the winner of this round is: WinRar 

Test 4: Popularity

Popularity is also one of the points to be considered when choosing for a perfect compression software. this is the reason  why WinRar is more popular than 7zip. Do you know that Winrar was started 17 years ago by Eugene Roshal (its developer), in year 1995. this may be the reason as it provided better compression ratio than WinZip, Oh BTW in this time no one can call WinZip as a compression utility. The drawbacks of WinZip are following:
  • Compression ratio is never less than 95%
  • Its better to just copy files rather then compressing it for the sake of saving a slightly more space
Though its was less useful than compared to WinRar and 7Zip but still it has following benefits.
Note: I am talking about benefits of [.]Zip compression and not WinZip, It always sucked.
  • Zip files can be accessed and created without the need of any additional software unlike WinRar and 7zip. Now even mobiles and Linuxes support [.]Zip extension
  • As we know that only one file can be downloaded at a time using FTP connection, Zipped files saved time by downloading all file in once.
  • Some folders that contain many system files (.Cab, .Dll, .Exe and many more) take time to copy in flash drives, due to increase in number of files. In this scenario one can create a zip file of the folder and it will be copied instantly thus saving time for both the sender and receiver.
These were the benefits of using zipped (.Zip) file. But soon in the previous years, WinRar is also becoming very popular due to many facts like lower compression ratio and faster decompression. It please all the pirates because people prefer to download games and application which are small in size. the zip extension is eliminating very quickly but still its never bad to use one. If one person want serious compression, then I would recommend him using Winrar due to its popularity and low compression rates at the same time.
So the Winner is: WinRar

Conclusion

As the title suggests, this post was mainly published to choose the best from Winrar and 7Zip. But both of them performed very well in all the tests, but 7Zip missed the SFX test. On the other hand, it beats WinRar in the compression ratio test. So in my opinion, I like WinRar slightly more than 7Zip due to the vast variety of features and accessibility. I am not saying that 7Zip is bad, it also good and useful fr getting more better results but it needs to be more popular than WinRar and I hoe that one day it will replace it Rar files completely. This fight is just like the fight of #Facebook and #Google+. Though Google+ is better than Facebook in all ways, but it still lacks user preference because major population still prefers Facebook and it will take some to change the hood.
So what is your opinion in choosing the best compression software and which one do you use. please let us know and we will review it too. Thanks for reading, you are very awesome person alive on Earth.

Bonus

And here is your bonus, as I told you above in the post. I have found a file that can be compressed from GB to KB. Yes you saw right, I am saying that you can compress a file of 1 GB into mere 250 KB. the file is located at this location in your GTA: San Andreas game folder:

Drive:\\GtaSA\Audio\SFX

Here in this folder you will find a file named SPC_GA. You can compress this 1.02 GB file into 250 KB using WinRar or 7Zip as you wish. Amazing!!