Your point is very true...with a high capacity connection.
However, I have to pull those files through a 512KBit connection which is costing about 120 USD/month. You can get cheaper, higher rated connections over here, but those lines here are really 'overbooked' and unreliable. In my situation I simply lose too much time downloading. Besides that, my download is immediately ready to be stored on the least amount of DVD's.
I find your way of measuring efficiency odd...
1. It takes you longer to produce the smallest size zip but requires less download time.
2. It takes you longer to download a moderate size zip but saves you some compression time.
Either way, you are simply swithcing the "wait" between the 2 processes.
If the zip is prepared by someone else, then he/she always produces a bigger zip to save his/her time, that is a matter of his/her choice and should not be taken as a factor in determining WinRar's efficiency.
Granted, you have a point there...if you are using a system (or work-flow) where the bottleneck is almost the same size than the rest of the system.
However you do not seem to grok that the bottleneck in my complete work-flow is the internet connection...let me clarify with an example. Imagine a bucket of water, an empty bucket similar to the first one and a straw to get the water from one bucket to the other.
I use a VPN connection to let a quad core PC create the archive in 2 to 2,5 hours the download will take an x amount of time. Downloading the moderately compressed archive easily takes x + 6 to 8 hours more (if I am lucky, internet here in Paraguay is really not as stable, as in the northern hemisphere of the globe...even with business subscriptions).
Over here I use an i7 PC that takes 30 to 40 minutes to unpack the highly compressed archive and I am already way into the importing process when the moderately compressed would be in. As I am paid by the hour, my benefactor does not complain at all.
Besides that, with all the computing power that is available in modern PC's, do you really think it should be wasted by playing the latest games or editing/encoding your home video alone?