Development > PowerArchiver 2017: details about Advanced Codec Pack (.pa format)

PowerArchiver 2017: details about Advanced Codec Pack (.pa format)

December 21st, 2016 | Category: Development

Dear users,

Ashampoo_Snap_2016.12.20_14h23m19s_038_90- - 1-fast-pa - PowerArchiver 2017 We are very pleased to introduce latest generation of PowerArchiver! PowerArchiver 2017 is the most exciting release in our long history (since 1998). What makes it exciting you ask? PowerArchiver 2017 brings our new special feature – Advanced Codec Pack (.pa format). It is an Advanced Codec Pack that combines the best available codecs and filters into one great performing package. Most of codecs and filters are built by us at Conexware and we also use the best open source tools where needed. PA (.pa) format has two distinctive modes – the Optimized Strong mode that focuses on superior compression strength and Optimized Fast mode that focuses on combination of great speed and good strength (better than ZIP).

Using different modes, users may configure the mode that works best for them. Thanks to some unique filters and compression models, Optimized Strong is most likely the strongest compression mode on the market now (outside experimental archivers), and at the same time Optimized Fast most likely provides the best speed/strength ratio on the market as well. Together with The Advanced Codec Pack (.pa), we now fully support 64-bit systems which lets us not only increase the speed in the new .pa format (codecs and filters) but also address the maximum available amount of memory during usage.

Advanced Codec Pack (.pa) main/unique features

    • Optimized Strong mode – Optimizes codecs and filters based on selected compression level with focus on superior compression strength. Medium to high RAM and multithread usage and we recommend using it with computers that have at least 4GB of RAM and 4 threads available.
    • Optimized Fast mode – Optimizes codecs and filters based on file extension with focus on fast compression and decompression speed. Up to 400-500MBs speeds in real life scenarios with normal computers (8 threads with SSD).
    • Ashampoo_Snap_2016.12.20_14h25m15s_039_
    • PLZMA4 (codec) – Variation of LZMA with parallel compression and decompression (multicore) for maximum speed and a unique lzmarec compression model for extra strength. This is the main codec used under Optimized Strong mode.
    • Reflate(filter) – Pre-processing filter is designed to increase compression of all deflate streams, most common ones found in PDF, DOCX, XLSX, PNG, SWF, etc. files. Translated to plain English, the pre-processing compresses PDF files between 30% and 50% better on average and DOCX/XLSX files up to 70% better (other archivers without special support for these files can usually compress up to 5%). The Reflate filter is used only in Optimized Strong mode due to slower speed. <click for more>
    • Deltb (filter) – Smart pre-processor for exe/dlls. It increases compression of exe/dlls by up to 10%. Extremely fast, suitable to be used in both Optimized Strong and Optimized Fast modes.
    • x64flt (filter) – Special filter that increases compression of x64 exe/dlls by up to 10%. Extremely fast, suitable to be used in both Optimized Strong and Optimized Fast modes.
    • FMA-REP (filter) – Deduplication filter. Due to much lower memory requirements than main codecs such as PLZMA4, it can be used on much larger window size (up to 2GB). Very fast and suitable to be used in both Optimized Strong and Optimized Fast modes. Increases compression substantially on large files.
    • ZStandard2 (Codec) – Our (parallel) version of open source ZStandard codec used in Optimized Fast modes. Very fast compression and decompression (up to 500MBs on real computers with SSDs). Helped in Optimized Fast mode with our filters that increase compression substantially while still maintaining excellent speed.
    • Ppmd_sh (Codec) – PPMd version created by our compression engineer Eugene Shelwien. Probably the best ppmd based codec available. It is used for text compression in Optimized Strong mode. Open source available on our github.
    • Secure AES 256 bit encryption – For added security, we use BWTS algorithm to scramble the data before AES, so attackers can not use LZ compression redundancy and other plaintext attacks to quickly check if given password is valid. This makes .pa format considerably more secure than ZIP AES. For the AES encryption module, we use FIPS 140-2 validated modules from Windows so you can rest assured that AES implementation has been tested and validated.

There are many other interesting Advanced Codec Pack (.pa) features. We are looking forward to our users testing it and letting us know where to go next. We have been working on these new Codecs and Filters for past 5-6 years and we have planned many new features to come. Upcoming features that we are working on under our R&D are our jpeg codec, improved x64flt filter as well as speed improvements to the fma-rep codec. All of them are very exciting and we hope to have them ready quite soon, maybe even for the final release. PowerArchiver Advanced Codec Pack (.pa) will be under accelerated development schedule in years to come.

PowerArchiver 2017 with Advanced Codec Pack (.PA) will first be available to our most dedicated users, ones with an active PowerArchiver Select plan, as a preview version. We will be sending emails with preview version download links before the end of the year. Happy Holidays and ttank you for being our users since 1998!