Each year we run several Performance Tests on the top Free AntiVirus programs to see how they impact a computer's performance. See the 8 tests below that we ran on Free Antivirus Software.
1) Memory Use:
Note: 10 separate readings were taken 1 minute apart while the computer was idling. The average memory usage (MB) is given in the graph below.
2) Reboot Time Increase:
Note: Reboot time after antivirus installation was compared to the reboot time without any antivirus software installed. 10 reboots were performed and the average increase in reboot time is shown in the graph below.
3) Installation Size:
Note: The installation size of each antivirus program is shown below - updates were downloaded after installation and are included in the results below.
4) Initial Scan Speed:
Note: A 1.0GB set of files was scanned (3000 total files, including Windows system files, media files, and other files commonly found on a computer system), and the first scan after antivirus installation is shown below. The Initial Scan Speed (below) is generally slower than the Subsequent Scan Speed (see test #5) since many files are not scanned in the latter.
5) Subsequent Scan Speed:
Note: A 1.0GB set of files was scanned, and the average scan speed was calculated from 10 scans (not including the Initial Scan) with a system reboot in between each scan.
6) Initial Application Launch Time:
Note: Mozilla Firefox was launched 10 times with a system reboot in between each. The time taken was compared before and after antivirus installation. The average increase in initial launch time is shown in the graph below. Generally initial application launches (below) take longer than subsequent launches (see test #7). All antivirus add-ons and toolbars for Firefox were disabled/uninstalled before running this test.
7) Subsequent Application Launch Time:
Note: 10 launches of a web browser (Mozilla Firefox) were compared before and after antivirus installation. The average increase in subsequent launch time is shown in the graph below (1st launch after reboot is not included). As with the test above, all antivirus add-ons and toolbars for Firefox were disabled/uninstalled before running this test.
8) File Conversion Time:
Note: Conversion time of a MP3 file being converted to several different formats (MP3 > WAV > MP3 > WMA > MP3). The conversion time with antivirus installed was compared to the conversion time without any antivirus, and the average increase in conversion time of 10 trials is shown below.
Overall 'System Impact Score'
Note: The "System Impact Score" is a cumulative score tallied from the above 8 Antivirus tests. 12 points are given for a top ranking in each of the above tests, while 1 point is given for a bottom/12th-place ranking. The higher overall score the better (96 total possible points).
Test Computer Specifications: Toshiba Pentium Dual-Core T4200 @ 2.00GHz (64-bit), with 3 GB RAM memory and 210 GB Hard-drive running Windows 7 Home Premium. Acronis True Image is used to create a backup image and to restore from before each antivirus installation, so each AV program runs in a similar environment.
Each antivirus program was run with Default Settings.