Utility software

StuffIt Deluxe 9.0

Answering the challenge for greater speed posed by the Finder’s swift Archive command in OS X 10.3, Allume Systems has released StuffIt Deluxe 9.0. This upgrade is a quicker, altogether more functional program that improves archiving flexibility; enhances file encryption, protection, and distribution; and provides faster, more-efficient compression.

The latest version’s Archive Assistant now operates networkwide: files located on your desktop or hard drive or accessible via a network can be archived on a server, a remote drive, or even in your .Mac account. Files that are accessible by more than one network user can be archived with administrative privileges set to protect privacy. The application can also filter information to save only the latest changes on your system, making archiving more efficient.

The Archive Assistant also provides automatic updates and lets you view corresponding update logs via e-mail. This makes it easy to extend the program’s functionality while you’re on the road.

Updated DropStuff

With version 9.0 comes a retooled DropStuff 9, which refines the primary features in DropZip, DropTar, and DropSegment and distills them into one application. You can select a variety of files and folders from different locations to create a single archive compressed in the format of your choice (.sitx, .sit, .zip, or .tar). To segment large files, simply select preformatted segment sizes that are custom-made for CDs or DVDs, for example. You can now view segmented files without rejoining them, and search archives using specific criteria. Although the encryption option is available for all formats except .tar, the segmenting tool is available only when using the .sitx compression setting. While compressing files, you can access other StuffIt Deluxe functions from the Magic Menu or from the program’s contextual menu.

Improved compression speed

Version 9.0, optimized for multiprocessor Macs, showed significant performance gains. The program now supports terabyte-size archives and archives containing more than 65,535 files. Both can be compressed with StuffIt’s .sitx format.

We tested StuffIt Deluxe 9.0 using a 649MB folder containing 336 JPEG images on two Macs: a dual-processor 1.4GHz Power Mac G4 and a 1.3GHz PowerBook G4.

It took 1 minute and 55 seconds on the multiprocessor Mac for StuffIt to compress the folder using the 512-bit encryption setting (.sitx) with the Better Compression option. With the Faster Compression option, it took 1 minute and 27 seconds. Notably, the standard .sit setting compressed the file in 1 minute and 8 seconds, while OS X’s Archive command took 2 minutes and 59 seconds to create a .zip archive.

Single-processor Macs, like our 1.3GHz PowerBook, obviously will not experience the same speed gains: compressing the folder with .sitx’s Better Compression setting took 2 minutes and 49 seconds; with the Faster Compression setting, the task was completed in 2 minutes and 3 seconds; and the .sit compression took 1 minute and 39 seconds. But all those speeds topped OS X’s Archive command, which took 5 minutes and 12 seconds to create a .zip archive.

The included StuffIt Expander application, on the other hand, performed on a par with the Finder’s Archive command. Expander took between 48 and 59 seconds to unstuff a file on the multiprocessor Mac and between 1 minute and 19 seconds and 1 minute and 50 seconds on the 1.3GHz PowerBook.

Macworld’s buying advice

StuffIt Deluxe 9.0 has significantly refined its applications and tools, making this release a worthy upgrade. Although the price may seem a bit high, version 9.0 will prove valuable for people who regularly archive and send large files.

DropStuff, StuffIt’s integrated compression engine, allows you to drag and drop files and then segment them to fit on a variety of removable media.
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