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The PDF Guide: File Size And Creation Time Tested

The PDF Guide: File Size And Creation Time Tested

Enthusiasts typically turn to hardware upgrades when it comes to improving the performance of their PC. In the case of PDF creation tools, you should consider looking at software first. We take Adobe Acrobat and compare it to several other viable options.

A vast majority of our readers are either enthusiasts or something very close to it, thanks to a profound interest in all things technical. You’re typically interested in maximizing performance, and you know what sort of hardware it takes to cut through your favorite games and productivity apps. 

In many cases, though, you don’t necessarily have to upgrade your hardware to achieve better overall performance. We decided to take a very mainstream usage model as an example: Adobe PDF file creation. We're checking and comparing five different PDF creation tools according to their performance and file size.

We looked into file compression tools a few months ago, and we found significant performance and file size differences between the various tools, including 7-Zip, FreeArc, WinRAR, and WinZip. Since file compression and archiving can require lots of computing power, depending on the files with which you're working, this was a great real-life application for modern multi-core PCs. However, these tools typically work on their own archive formats.

The creation of platform-independent documents is a bit different. The dominant standard is Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF), and it allows computer users to open and manage PDF documents without requiring the software on which the document was initially created. PDF creation also requires substantial computing power when high-resolution images or complex multi-page presentations are involved, but the standard and format are decidedly mainstream.

Hence, this is the perfect basis for another performance comparison using a state-of-the-art six-core processor. We obtained five different solutions, including Adobe’s own Acrobat 9. Is Adobe’s tool faster? Does it provide better PDF image quality? Can its file size be shrunk even further? We know, we know. The site is called Tom's Hardware. But what good would the best components out there be if we didn't have interesting workloads to drop on them?

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  • 2 Hide
    pentabuksus , 25 August 2010 17:19
    So where is the page with the discription of PDFCreator 1.0.1?

  • 1 Hide
    gdilord , 26 August 2010 18:13
    It would be nice if you reviewed PDF printer drivers as well like Bullzip PDF Printer or CutePDF.
  • 0 Hide
    Gonemad , 31 August 2010 21:57
    It appears that Foxit is treating all pictures in bitmap routines, causing the huge file sizes, while others rely on JPEG compression or other algorithms at one point or another, underneath the PDF conversion.

    I did the test myself, "printing" straight from a JPG or BMP image to a PDF file. It appears, (at least in Bullzip, used by me) it can't tell one image format from another, thus reflecting on the size of the resulting PDF files. Apparently, any form of compression is not part of the Standard; so it is up to each tool (maker) to choose their appropriate image interpretation sub-routines, compression included. A further analysis should be able to certify my assumptions.
  • 0 Hide
    tinnerdxp , 1 September 2010 20:19
    Haven't read the article so feel free to ignore me... But I used to work with PDF workflows and as far as I know comparison like this doesn't make much sense... Since if a product A - is "Press" oriented - it will generally speaking create a bigger file - due to the fact what PDF format can contain. It can contain fonts, bitmaps, subsets of fonts, clipart graphics (bitmap with few colours or b&w), vector graphics in different formats, colour profiles, bleed, print and crop areas for each individual page and so on... all of those are set using a "profiler" or "manager" app - using defaults is like comparing mediaplayer to vlc - which is faster and which is quicker at compressing videos? Well - it depends how it's configured.
    Just my 2 cents.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 8 September 2010 10:01
    my pc used to read pdf files but now doesnt. I'm a newbie and on entering a computing shop run by a friend of a friend i was offered a service for 65 euro . This is about what my pc is worth as its a good old P4 with half gig RAM running XP pro, I was told reverting to service pack 2 may help, but when i said the pdf was the only issue i was told 15 euro for this alone was the best i could get. hmm. will try a shop run by people i dont know next time.