Download Accelerator Manager from Tensons is a free, highly customizable application for users who want to download many things, fast. Unfortunately, it didn't work for us.
In the main application view, DAM categorizes downloads as All, Unfinished, and Finished; within those categories, the application automatically organizes files by type (e.g., Music). The interface, while not gorgeous, follows standard Windows conventions and is easy to understand. It's easy to add URLs for downloading, and you can pause and restart downloads with one click. We liked the option to choose the order in which files are downloaded.
DAM does, indeed, offer a long list of tools for power downloaders, including scheduling and automation options, site-connection settings, and general interface tweaks. Sadly, the Help file is sparse; among other things, it fails to explain what MediaGrabber, a quasiseparate application that gets installed along with DAM, actually does.
Adding download targets to DAM is easy, thanks to its integration with several browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera. The window that pops up when you click on a link lets you choose to open a file with DAM. You can also right-click a target or drag it to the icon the program places in your system tray.
Our first download attempt was a 1.7MB executable. DAM worked fine. We next tried downloading a 400MB .mov and the application hung. We Ctrl-Alt-Deleted out, restarted, and tried again. The application hung. Just for fun, we tried downloading several files at the same time to observe the promised "manager" features. Hung. We tested with a 60MB file, but DAM choked on that as well. Each time, Task Manager identified DAM as the CPU culprit. Then, we tried downloading both the 400MB and 60MB files straight from Firefox. Each attempt worked fine.
The verdict? If you are a heavy downloader, DAM may be worth a try--it is free, after all--in the hopes you get better results than we did. But you may want to keep doing research in the more likely case your test runs turn out like ours.