The true benefit of the paid AV is that they will respond much faster to the new viruses that are released. The free AV programs like MSE, Avast and AVG will all respond to the new viruses but at a much slower pace. These free AV programs are good. You just need to decide on how quickly you need to be protected. In the corporate world they need this speed. Most home users do not need the quick response and can get by waiting a week or three for the free programs to respond. If you practice safe computing the free AV programs should do just fine.
wow there are people who think norton is good lol.
I've read some AV reviews recently and surprisingly Norton was winning those reviews. I'm no Norton fanboy, I've hated Symantec/Norton for the pains caused me by their software in the past. But it's been rated fast/reliable as of late. "Who'd a thunk it?"
I went from Trend Micro to NOD32 to Bit Defender to Kaspersky's to AVG Free to Avast Free to Avast Internet Security(current). They were all great when I used them. But they all got ugly at some point, Bit Defender had issues, Kaspersky's had issues with their Network service/protection and Trend Micro just stopped being very effective. And AVG Resident Protection kept crashing when I tried to play HEAT Online so I dumped them after a whole week. Except Avast, it's yet to get annoying, give me any issues with games/software or cause BSOD's.
But not even the best AV can protect against Stupid Users that install all kinds of "permissionware"