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Torrid torrents

Accelerate your P2P downloads with this connection optimizer.

The explosion of free BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) software has given users a powerful downloading tool that makes a joke out of older file-sharing technologies, but even with the fastest connection, slimmest clients, and most optimized configurations, there's room for improvement. Sharest's SpeedLord is to P2P clients what nitrous oxide is to racing cars: a kick in the seat. It's a free, automatic acceleration patch utility that can either help you dramatically boost your download speeds by sorting out an inadequate connection or help you extract every last bit of bandwidth from a fast pipe. It claims the power to boost download speeds up to 200 percent.

SpeedLord is designed to run automatically in the background in concert with your P2P software, so there isn't much in the way of configuration or settings. The program's main interface is a small dialog with three sections: Run P2P, for choosing BitTorrent clients; Statistics, which is the main display; and Settings, with Status and Quit buttons and a field for choosing the appropriate network adapter. We had several BitTorrent clients handy for testing, and each showed similar performance with SpeedLord engaged and disengaged. Though the statistics hardly revealed a dramatic boost to our cable broadband connection, it was definitely discernible and would probably show a greater effect in a slower hookup.

SpeedLord is freeware that works with the latest versions of Windows, including Vista and Windows 7, and it's compatible with nearly all BitTorrent clients. If you use BitTorrent a lot, or if you have some downloading speed issues, it's well worth trying.

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