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Do Virus Scanners Slow Down Your System?

CPU And Game Benchmarks

We should preface the following CPU and game benchmarks by saying we really don't expect security software to have an effect on them. Anti-virus software typically activates on the creation, opening, closing, or emailing of files, and none of the following tasks are focused on any of these activities. Regardless, we make no assumptions and perform the following tests to check our theory.

We start things off with a synthetic CPU benchmark to see whether or not these products will cause performance differences compared to a computer without any security software installed. As you can see, the presence of this software appears to cause no tangible impact on raw processing performance.

Now let’s see what happens in a real-world encoding application.

Encoding a video with the Xvid codec definitely stresses the processor—in fact, it stresses the whole platform. Nevertheless, there’s no real performance difference to see here.

We benchmarked Crysis to see if any of these security software products would affect game performance. Happily, it does not appear to have any impact whatsoever.

  • theshonen8899
    Great article, thanks!
  • iam2thecrowe
    before i read the article, my guess is Norton is the slowest and most useless....
  • tony singh
    How can u forget Avira , it's so popular & so good .
  • alyoshka
    I guess the new ones are lighter than the earlier ones for some of them....
  • well from my point of view - antivirus scanner do application loading to take a much longer time and this was proven by your tests.

    I think that AV software has no place into todays operating systems except for inexperincied users. I'm investing money to fast SSD disc to improve performace, why the hell intstall AV software to push performance back?
  • ruffopurititiwang
    This is the kind of article that keeps me coming back to Tom's! Kudos!
  • aznshinobi
    Avast please?
  • micr0be
    talk about heavy modifications on the new set of AVs compared to the older ones ... my surprise is norton which i was expecting to cripple the system to a halt .... very nice article btw
  • The test rig's CPU looks funny to me.

    Athlon II X4 645
    3.5 GHz, Quad-Core, 6 MB L3 Cache

    Isn't that a Phenom?
  • tony singh
    @Fip - Because when dirty viruses do their job, you'll get a headache.