Although winRAR dominates the web today, that is not to say that it is the best compression utility out there. One such example is UHarc.
Memory requirements depend on the compression method used (e.g., -mz needs less than -mx). Comparisons between WinRAR and UHarc generally show smaller filesizes with UHarc but a relatively substantial increase in decompression time (but much faster than PAQAR4, etc).
The latest beta is 0.6b (01 Oct 2005), but since 0.6a it has completely replaced the 0.4 and older archive headers and is not backwards compatible. There is a known limitation that archives must be smaller than a total of two gigabytes unpacked size, although there are some reports that it is possible to compress a 6gb unpacked sized archive.
Because of the difficulties of using Uharc with the commandline by some people, some GUIs have been created to simplify and allow the use of Uharc through a simple and modern graphic interface.
As you read above, files compressed with UHarc are smaller than that of those produced when using winRAR. To see this myself, i did a little test.
For this little test, I found a folder on my hard drive containing 9.00 MB of data. For both winRAR and UHarc, the compression mode was set to Best. I then compressed this same folder individually with each program, and have recorded the file size of the compressed file, and the time it took to do so.
winRAR - 9.00 MB file compressed in about 4.03 seconds, with the compressed file at 6.93 MB.
UHarc - 9.00 MB file compressed in about 25.27 seconds, with the compressed file at 4.37 MB
So, winRAR beat UHarc by about 21.24 seconds for time-to-compress. However, UHarc topped winRAR by 2.56 MB.
Wait a minute, only a 2.56 MB difference? Well, even though the difference here doesn’t appear to be much, that is just because we compressed a small file to begin with. If, on the other hand, we had compiled a 100 MB file, or a 1 GB file, the differences would be much more significant. To show this, either tonight or tomorrow, I’ll start compressing a large file in both programs, and will post the results. Check back later for the update!
The UHarc program with GUI that I use, is UHARC GUI by Brhack 188.8.131.52. that you can download at http://www.softpedia.com/get/Compression-tools/UHARC-GUI-by-Brhack.shtml