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list thousands of files benchmark

Open large archives benchmark

fastest archive opener app
time to open large zip file




  1. Compare mainstream archive managers, on multiple Operating Systems, in terms of times needed to open archives containing a very large number of files and folders (in the range of several thousands).
  2. Identify factors that may influence archive browsing performances when listing thousands of items is required.

Software settings

  • Windows 10 64 bit using 64 bit versions of:
    • 7-Zip 22.01
    • PeaZip 9.5.0
    • WinRar 6.11
    • Windows 10 built-in Compressed Folders
  • Linux Mint 21 x86_64
    • PeaZip for Linux GTK2 9.5.0
    • PeaZip for Linux Qt5 9.5.0
    • Gnome Archive Manager
  • macOS 13.6
    • PeaZip for macOS aarch64 9.6.0
    • PeaZip for macOS x86_64 9.6.0
  • Asahi Linux on aarch64
    • PeaZip for Linux GTK2 aarch64 9.6.0
All applications are tested using default, out-of-the-box configuration unless specified otherwise.

Hardware settings

Windows: Notebook with Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 4 physical cores with hyper-threading (8 logical cores), 8 GB RAM
System disk 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD, NTFS filesystem.
7-Zip benchmark score 24000

Linux: virtual machine over previous hardware.
7-Zip benchmark score 10000

macOS: 2020 MacBook Air with M1 chip.
7-Zip benchmark score 45000
This machine runs both macOS and Asahi Linux aarch64 benchmarks

Since very different technologies are employed, 7-Zip benchmark score is provided as reference, albeit it is mainly correlated with CPU performances.
Input data

Subject of the benchmark are 3 archives in ZIP format, default compression level, no encryption, containing several small files of mixed types - in the range of 10s of thousands and 100s of thousands items.

As content for the ZIP archives it was provided, multiple times, a directory containing:
1x PeaZip source package
3x PeaZip translations package
totaling about 1000 items, approximately 93% files and 7% directories.

Archive "25K" contains 25 K items, 225 MB in size
Archive "250K" contains 250 K items, 2.25 GB in size
Archive "25-flat" contains 25 K items, all of them in the root of the archive, 225 MB in size

Open large archive test results

Benchmark methods

Benchmark input archives are saved in a fast SSD system disk, and opened by the tested applications - which are already started.
A median time in seconds over 3 tests is reported as time to open the archive for browsing.
Since the tests took place on different machines for Windows, Linux, and macOS systems, 7-Zip benchmark score (rounded) is reported for reference in "Hardware settings" paragraph.

  • Archives were purposely tested on a fast local SSD drive to put the focus of the benchmark on the efficiency of the tested utilities: a slow disk or, worse, a remote disk over a slow connection, will degrade the performances of all applications, adding overhead time to access the data, the overhead being correlated with the size of the archive and the speed of the unit.
  • External factors may alter the outcome of the test, i.e. the system could theoretically delay or stop content listing operations detecting high CPU / memory usage, or high temperature, or an anti-malware software may interfere with the operations,

Benchmark listing times results (the lower the better)

PeaZip WIN64
4.8 9.8
PeaZip WIN64 (Fast mode)
MS Compressed Folders
748.0 6.0
PeaZip for Linux GTK2
PeaZip for Linux Qt5
Gnome Archive Manager
PeaZip for macOS aarch64
PeaZip for macOS x86_64
PeaZip for Linux GTK2 aarch64 1.8

Performances opening archives containing an increasingly large number of items

While up to a few thousands items per archive the time needed to open the archive is barely noticeable, for any of the tested apps, on a modern machine, with the 25K and 250K items benchmarks it become evident how well each application scales in efficiency for listing an increasingly larger number of items.

All applications (excluding 7-Zip) took a significant performance hit increasing items per archive from 10s of thousands up to 100s of thousands items per archive, with MS Compressed Folders being unable to complete the 250K test in under 3 minutes (and was consequently stopped).

With out-of-the-box configuration (default Normal mode), PeaZip shows a performance trend similar to WinRar and Gnome Archive manager in handling increasingly larger archives, but it is slower than both apps and of 7-Zip, which is the fastest tested application.

In Fast mode, PeaZip becomes almost as fast as 7-Zip in both 25K and 250K tests, significantly faster than other tested apps.

fastest app to open large archives

Pre-parsing analysis of archive content with PeaZip

PeaZip performs a comprehensive pre-parsing analysis of the archive on opening, listing the entire archive content, not only the root, which clearly adds a penalty in terms of raw performances, but as tradeoff it is meant to warn the user of possible integrity issues in advance, to display useful stats about the archive, and to create a treeview representation of the structure of directories inside the archive to help browsing.
PeaZip can automatically turn off parts of pre-parsing process in order to preserve performances, and can completely skip pre-browsing: this behavior can be set in Options > Settings, Browser optimization in the Performance group.
By default PeaZip is in Normal mode, which pre-.parses up to small archives (in the range of few hundreds thousands items in archive), while Fast mode has pre-parsing turned off unless listing issues are auto-detected while opening the archive.

Performances rendering a large number of items in the archive browser

25K-flat test shows mainly the efficiency in displaying a large number of items at once in the file / archive manager component.

In this test the best possible advantage is the implementation of a virtual list view, which is probably the key factor in 7-Zip and Gnome Archive Manager performances for 25K-flat being almost identical to 25K case, unlike other applications including PeaZip, which lacks this mechanism.
Swithcing PeaZip to Fast mode does not improve speed much in this test, as the rendering part is unaffected.

The second most important key factor in this test is the efficieny of the underlying Operating System's widget set in rendering the list view items.
This become evident with PeaZip, which uses different widget sets on Windows, Linux, and macOS, with the Linux versions being significantly faster than Windows and macOS ones - despising the Linux test machine being by far the slowest one accordingly to the 7-Zip benchmark ratings.
On Linux, Qt5 widget set significantly outperforms GTK2 and provides a surprisingly good result, as faster application not implementing a virtual treeview.
On macOS, the rendering times were noticeably slower than on Linux and Windows, either because Lazarus (the IDE using to build PeaZip) is less mature on this platform or because of performances of Cocoa widget set functions involved.
The difference is even more evident when comparing the app versions running on macOS/Cocoa aarch64, and on Asahi Linux/GTK2 arrch64, with the latter verion being about 7x faster than the macOS one in this specifc UI-intensive test.

what is the fastest app to open zip files

Conclusions: what is the fastest application for browsing archives?

Fastest application to browse large archives
7-Zip is the fastest application to open / browse large archives in all tests.
Out-of-the-box, PeaZip is slower than better optimized apps as WinRar and Gnome Archive Manager, due to a time-consuming full archive pre-parsing analysis stage meant to detect issues and provide information about the archive.
However, its shows a comparable capability in scaling performances for opening in reasonable times archives in the range of 10s thousands to 100s thousands of items.

Optimize PeaZip for browsing large archives
PeaZip in Fast mode is almost as fast as 7-Zip, and significantly faster than any of the other tested apps, unless it is needed to display many thousands of items at once in the GUI.
Lacking a virtual list view implementation it is inherently limited by the efficiency of the underlying OS widget set; in this case Qt5 widgetset provides the best performances for PeaZip, being even faster than WinRar and Windows Compressed Folders in this test.

Performances comparison of integrated system utilities
As for system utilities, Gnome Archive Manager clearly surpasses MS Compressed Folders, and it has comparable performances with PeaZip for Linux - faster on 25K archive, slower on 250K archive, fasterto represent a very large number of items at once in the GUI.

Performances on Apple Silicon vs Intel
On an M1 Apple Silicon machine, the native macOS aarch64 build consistently performed better than the x86_64 build, ranging from 25% to 40% faster performances.

macOS vs Linux performances on Apple Silicon

The first two benchmarks, opening 25K items archive and 250K items archive, which mostrly rely on app's own efficiency, shows quite siimilar results, with macOS aarch64 version being faster on the smaller archive and the Linux aarch64 scaling better on the larger archive.
The last benchmark, which rely heavily on widget-set ability to render in the UI a 25K items "flat" archive, shows a clear advantage for the Linux/GTK2 version which is about 7 times faster than the macOS/Cocoa version, despising the GTK2 widegt set not being the fast one available on Linux platform.

Synopsis: Open large archives benchmark. What is the fastest application to open large archives? Comparison of archive browsing speed with 7-Zip, PeaZip, and WinRar. Archive listing benchmark methods, time to open results, comparative of speed of archive manager utilities for browsing archives containing thousands of files and folders. Speed test on Windows, Linux, and macOS aarch64 and Intel.

Topics: PeaZip vs 7-Zip vs WinRar list large archive content benchmark, which is the fastest application

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