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Media Synchronization Benchmarks: FreeSync (& SyncPod) vs. CopyTrans Manager vs. iTunes – which is the fastest of all?

Many think iTunes is bloatware that should in no way be used for media synchronization. This is why I started making some very serious benchmarks. In a nutshell, the results: while the actual loading, tab switching, audio media format conversion etc. of iTunes may indeed be painfully slow, particularly under Windows, for synchronizing media to iOS devices it is in no way worse than the free and highly recommended competition. Actually, just the opposite - at least with the latest (tested) iTunes versions...

I also wanted to provide up-to-date benchmark results – something like the excellent, albeit highly outdated ones HERE.

Let me present you the benchmark results of the, in my opinion, best (to a varying degree) iTunes-less media synchronizator tools, FreeSync (& SyncPod) vs. CopyTrans Manager for (Mac) OS X and Windows, respectively. All this even compared to the same figures of iTunes, running under exactly the same circumstances.

(I'll devote quite a lot of time and space for a more thorough comparison of the three (or, making a distinction between FreeSync and SyncPod, four) products in my forthcoming article “File system accessor and third-party synchronization tools – the Roundup”.)

For testing, I've used both severely outdated and pretty much new and common hardware on both (desktop and iOS) sides. This is why I used both an 1 GHz ULV first-gen Centrino (read: slow) HP TC1100 Tablet PC running Win XP SP3 and having 1.5 Gbytes of RAM and a 120 GB hard disk and a late 2009 Macbook Pro 2.8 GHz C2D notebook with 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard disk. The clients were a super-slow iPhone 3G running iOS 3.1.3 and a reasonably fast iPod touch 4 running iOS 4.3.3. Neither iOS devices are jailbroken and both are clean (freshly restored [hard reset]).

I've tested both audio and video transfer speed. As you can see, all the three apps are pretty much comparable when in terms of operation (synchronization) speed.

iPod touch 4:

Benchmarks given in Min:SecAudio (116M, 39 songs in three albums)Video (803M)
Windows: HP TC1100, XP SP3: CPM0:20 (transfer) / 0:50 (transfer + artwork)2:12
ITunes 10.3.1.550:23 (with artwork)1:15
Windows: MBP + Parallels 6 + XP SP3: CPM0:15 (transfer) / 0:33 (transfer + artwork)1:45
OS X: MBP: FreeSync / SyncPod0:291:02
ITunes 10.5b48 (the one for iOS5 beta3)0:17 (with artwork; found all the three as opposed to the two found by the other two apps)1:02

iPhone 3G:

Benchmarks given in Min:SecAudio (116M, 39 songs)Video (800M)
Windows: MBP + Parallels 6 + XP SP3: CPM0:40 (transfer) / 1:15 (transfer + artwork)3:50
OS X: MBP: FreeSync / SyncPod0:59 (with artwork)3:13
ITunes 10.5b48 (the one for iOS5 beta3)0:42 (with artwork)n/t


As you can see, the two (both Windows and OS X) versions of iTunes was in almost all cases sometimes considerably faster than the other, otherwise highly popular and recommended, third-party tools running under exactly the same circumstances.

FreeSync-specific remark: don't use the built-in file handler to transfer files in subdirectories as it doesn't support directory drag-and-drop (must go into every single directory and transfer the files themselves) and you can't expand directories either unlike in Finder. That is, drag-and-drop everything from finder, first expanding all directories (by holding Options (Alt) when clicking the triangle of preferably the uppermost parent directory.)

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Werner Ruotsalainen is an iOS and Java programming lecturer who is well-versed in programming, hacking, operating systems, and programming languages. Werner tries to generate unique articles on subjects not widely discussed. Some of his articles are highly technical and are intended for other programmers and coders.

Werner also is interested in photography and videography. He is a frequent contributor to not only mobile and computing publications, but also photo and video forums. He loves swimming, skiing, going to the gym, and using his iPads. English is one of several languages he speaks.