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PCMark 7 Results

Do Antivirus Suites Impact Your PC's Performance?

Here we come to the meat of our testing. When you have real applications running and you’re manipulating real media content, how much of a burden is your AV software? There are two ways to look at the answer, and we’ll show both. Here are the overall PCMark7 score results with the horizontal axis set to Auto:

This view magnifies differences in the results. The obvious conclusion is that Kaspersky seized the day and Microsoft...didn’t. Now let’s start the horizontal axis to 0 and see how things look:

It’s an even field, right? Suddenly, you no longer care about performance—they’re all practically the same—and you’re back to thinking about pricing and features. In fact, the real take-away here might be that there seems to be little to no impact from AV products on application performance. Kaspersky and McAfee even slip in just under our clean config score, again defying intuition and making the case for normal statistical variance in this test load.

So much for our lesson in statistics manipulation. You know that PCMark is comprised of several tests examining different usage scenarios, so let’s break this down.

A few AV products claim to improve rich media content performance, but if this test, which focuses on video playback frame rates, is any indication, such enhancements are totally absent from our test group. We found no statistically significant variance.

With video downscaling, we see a big of wiggle. In an odd twist, every competitor except Microsoft narrowly outperforms our clean configuration. AVG squeaks in with the win, but it’s practically a photo finish for all players. Again, we see little influence from antivirus background scanning in either direction.

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