Review: WinMX 3.1

By Tom 5/17/02

Introduction

It's been nearly a year since the last release of WinMX. The last version, 2.6, went on to become one of the most successful P2P applications by providing an astounding amount of search results and successful downloads. With version 3.1 released, WinMX has clearly taken lead over FastTrack and even manages to out-nap Napster.



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With the arrival of 3.1, file-sharing is back and better than ever. Remember the pure days of file-sharing under the old Napster? The days of no spyware and the choice of virtually any song with any bitrate? WinMX recreates that experience and then takes it to the next level. With the latest technology like multi-source downloading and an advanced decentralized network, WinMX has incorporated the key elements that make this P2P network a success.

Ease of Use:

For newbies, there may be a bit of a learning curve involved with WinMX, only because it has a number of advanced features. However, anyone with enough P2P experience will be able to dive right in. Once you tool around the interface for a few minutes, there should be no problem catching on. If you really get lost, there is a setup wizard that quickly walks you through establishing upload/download

Layout/Design:

While some people are turned off by WinMX's utilitarian interface, I actually find it quite refreshing from the typical juiced up interfaces that iMesh or KaZaA institute. WinMX has a very "IRC" feel; the interface is very "matter of fact" and presented in a logical way. Once the search tool bar is mastered, you'll forget about its rustic design and appreciate its many options.

Speed of Download:

With version 2.6, download speed wasn't usually a problem if the ping feature was taken advantage of. 3.1 resolves any remaining downloading issues with its multi-source feature. When multiple sources are available, we were able to download at blazing speeds. There's little doubt that 2.6 was a fabulous P2P application, however the people at Frontcode have found a way to improve on this client. As the multi-source feature kicks in, high speed downloads were commonplace.

File Availability:

This is where WinMX draws its greatest strength. Its unparalleled ability to draw thousands of search results is a feat that even Napster dared not claim. WinMX also allows mp3's of all bitrates to be traded, unlike the middling FastTrack community which caps quality at 128 kbps. For songs new and old, this network has an excellent chance in finding the files you want with the bitrate the masses demand.

Network Architecture

WinMX benefits from having a decentralized network. No indexing servers are maintained or operated by Frontcode Technologies, leaving control to the millions of individuals that use this network. WinMX's network is structured similarly to FastTrack and Gnutella, with supernodes taking on more responsibilities and maintaining the stability of the network. As an added option, WinMX also allow users to connect to OpenNap. You can download the .wsx file from the WinMX community, which will add OpenNap servers to the client. You'll be able to connect to multiple servers and combine the resources of OpenNap and WinMX and have an mp3 field day.

Overall:

Frontcode Technologies takes the quintessential characteristics of a successful P2P network and bundles it in a little client that the file-sharing community calls WinMX. With over a million simultaneous users, a decentralized network, unlimited bitrate availability, multi-source downloading and stunning search results, WinMX has become the most dominant and supreme force that the file-sharing world has ever seen.

Tom from Slyck.com as a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Tom's insights on other digital music issues can be read on his site and we encourage you to check it out.

Other MP3 Reviews:
Review: Blubster
Review: SongSpy
Review: AudioGalaxy
Review: BearShare
Review: Newtella
Review: LimeWire
Review: Imesh


 

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