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RAR for Mac OS X 4.0.1 beta 1

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RAR for Mac OS X Editor's Review

RAR for Mac is a command line archiver for Mac OS X.

Since the last tested version, 3.60, the producer has implemented the support for Intel processors. The archiver uses slightly less memory. It doesn't slow down the system in a visible way as the older version did. The support for multi-core systems is still missing on the OS X platform, as it's available for Windows users, but not for OS X users.

Another thing that's also missing is the graphical interface which is still not available for the Macintosh users. I searched for a 3rd party frontend, but I couldn't find anything besides a bunch of un-archivers which feature RAR support. If the 'Terminal' isn't your thing, then maybe you should skip RAR for Mac. Try a graphical archiver instead.

Besides the bad parts, there are some good parts about this application too. The error reporting is well implemented. If there is a file that the application can't compress, because of various reasons, then the program returns an error about the issue and it continues to archive.

Another good thing is the stability. I couldn't make it crash even though I tried to do it by using various but usual commands and switches.

RAR for Mac features a lot of functionality. Besides the different archive levels and the ZIP support, it can build multi volume archives, strong encrypted archives, or self-extract archives.

The help for this application is also well implemented. Unfortunately, the help is also in command-line mode. The documentation is also available in one of the files which you can find within the distribution archive of this software. That file is called 'rar.txt' and it can be very useful, if, or should I say, when the archiving with this program gives you headaches.

The stress test was made with my 'test_files' folder, a 2.5 GB directory, which was filled with various file types. The compression rate was very good, even though I used the normal level of compression for this test. The RAR algorithm shows its strength there. For further details, check the screenshots that I made during the test.

I unpacked the resulted 'test_files.rar' archive by using both the official unarchive application, but with a frontend, UnRarX, and by using 3rd party unarchivers such as The Unarchiver or StuffIt Expander. All the tests went fine. I have to mention that UnRarX is recommended over the 3rd party unachivers. It features some advanced RAR-related functions that you won't find in The Unarchiver, or in StuffIt Expander.

Pluses: it is a strong compression achiever, it gives you many options in order to obtain the desired archive, it is a stable application.

Drawbacks / flaws: the lack of GUI (Graphical User Interface) sends you back to the Neolithic age of desktop computing which brings a severe drawback to the usability. The archiver doesn't have the support for multi-core machines, thus it won't use all the available resources, which makes the whole process to be slower than it should be.

In conclusion: the application is a little bit overpriced, because it has the same price tag as the Windows version. Don't get me wrong. The Windows version is a great application, but it features multithread support and a nice GUI, things that you won't find under OS X. This may sound a little bit harsh, but if the shell isn't one of your usual tools, than maybe you should use a graphical archiver. I would recommend you tools like 7xZ, or CleanArchiver. These archivers have less advanced features than RAR for Mac, but they feature decent compression rate while being quite easy to use.

version reviewed: 3.71

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Utilities > Compression Tools
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