Utilizing multi core for tar+gzip/bzip compression/decompression


I normally compress using tar zcvf and decompress using tar zxvf (using gzip due to habit).

I've recently gotten a quad core CPU with hyperthreading, so I have 8 logical cores, and I notice that many of the cores are unused during compression/decompression.

Is there any way I can utilize the unused cores to make it faster?

This question is tagged with gzip tar bzip2 bzip

~ Asked on 2012-09-07 06:58:20

The Best Answer is


You can use pigz instead of gzip, which does gzip compression on multiple cores. Instead of using the -z option, you would pipe it through pigz:

tar cf - paths-to-archive | pigz > archive.tar.gz

By default, pigz uses the number of available cores, or eight if it could not query that. You can ask for more with -p n, e.g. -p 32. pigz has the same options as gzip, so you can request better compression with -9. E.g.

tar cf - paths-to-archive | pigz -9 -p 32 > archive.tar.gz

~ Answered on 2012-09-07 14:48:01


You can also use the tar flag "--use-compress-program=" to tell tar what compression program to use.

For example use:

tar -c --use-compress-program=pigz -f tar.file dir_to_zip 

~ Answered on 2013-06-14 14:34:27

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