I have been using Symantec (NIS & Norton 360) products for several years now. My current Norton 360 subscription will be expiring in the next couple weeks and I am considering going with either Kaspersky, NOD32, or even NIS 2009 instead of renewing Norton 360. The reason for this is that Norton 360, like previous versions of NIS, is a system hog and I've had a few issues with Norton 360 such as scheduled scans not running, had to reinstall 3 times in the past year, and a few other minor issues. I have heard good things about Norton Internet Security 2009 though.
I am looking for software with better than average detection, containment, and deletion of malware, viruses, trojans, worms, rootkits, spyware, etc. The firewall is not a major concern for me because I will be setting up a previous system with Check Point R65 running on Splat. I want something that is not going to be as much of a system hog as Norton 360. Any advice or comments will be greatly appreciated.
Try AVG antivirus, they have a free edition which I like, though there are paid versions. Try that maybe along with Spybot Search and Destroy. For firewall, there is one out there called comodo, though you say you don't want a firewall, on comodo, it will allow you to teach it, essentially anytime something wants to run on the system or access the internet, it seems pretty good at letting you know it. Other than that, I might suggest using a paid program such as Norton Ghost for backups, make an image of the machine when you get it set, then if you have a crash, you should be able to to reload it pretty quickly.