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The fastest download manager of all – Gigaget?

Every once in a while, you come across freeware so interesting, you wonder “Now why didn’t I know of that earlier?”

This was the case when I recently found out about the Gigaget download manager. It is free, easy to install, and simple to use. But that is not saying anything, until I get to the part where it actually starts downloading. And it sure is fast! On my embarrassingly slow 128kbps ADSL, it managed to download regular files at (and sometimes, even faster) than the theoretical limit of 16kB/s. How does it do that? Apart from some reference to an unelaborated “NetGrid” technology, the home site says nothing at all. From what I could gather, it seems something like Torrents brought to standard downloads.

But why would something that good be free? I was rather cautious at first – the ad banner that comes along with the interface gave me security shudders for quite some time. And the English on the site is another story, let alone the broken website itself. But after careful use, it becomes apparent that the software is trying nothing unusual, or at least, has not done so in two months of use.

Benchmarks are benchmarks, though, and Gigaget sets them high. I tried downloading three files on three of the most popular download managers, the non free ones paid for, and fully unlocked. The files were:

  1. The Firefox 3.0.2 setup from the official website
  2. The Contribute CS3 trial
  3. A YouTube video captured via the Javimoya downloader site.

The four download managers I used were Download Accelerator Plus (DAP), Internet Download Manager (IDM), and Flashget (FGT). The versions were the stable versions, as of 20/09/08. Then I compared the average speed of each (total download size in kilobytes divided by total time in seconds) with that generated by Gigaget (GGT).

Results:

  1. DAP {Firefox: 11.1kB/s, Contribute: 10.9kB/s, YouTube: 10.4kB/s}
  2. IDM {Firefox: 11.4kB/s, Contribute: 11.5kB/s, YouTube: 12.0kB/s}
  3. FGT {Firefox: 11.3kB/s, Contribute: 11.1kB/s, YouTube: 11.3kB/s}
  4. GGT {Firefox: 14.6kB/s, Contribute: 16.3kB/s, YouTube: 15.4kB/s}

Surprised? Let us have that again, for the awe effect:

Gigaget {Firefox: 14.6kB/s, Contribute: 16.3kB/s, YouTube: 15.4kB/s}

Yes, I was surprised too. Such glaring difference on the very same connection, and so consistently, was rather a shock. The only feasible explanation I can think for this is that the download is routed through some third party server, which compresses it, and then the client on my computer uncompresses it.

Whatever the methods, though, the certainty is there: for me, Gigaget is the fastest download manager of all.

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