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Anti-Virus Comparative - Performance Test (Internet Security Products) – October 2014
Anti-Virus Comparative
Performance Test (Suite Products)
Impact of Internet Security Software on System Performance
Language: English
October 2014
Last Revision: 13th November 2014
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Anti-Virus Comparative - Performance Test (Internet Security Products) – October 2014
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Table of Contents
1. Introduction
3
2. Tested products
3
3. Test methods
4
4. Notes and comments
5
5. Test cases
7
6. Test results
8
7. Award levels reached in this test
12
8. Copyright and Disclaimer
13
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Introduction
We want to make clear that the results in this report are intended only to give an indication of the
impact on system performance (mainly by the real-time/on-access components) of the Internet security products in these specific tests. Users are encouraged to try out the software on their own PC’s
and see how it performs on their own systems.
Tested products
The following products were evaluated (with default settings) in this test1:
AhnLab V3 Internet Security 8.0
F-Secure Internet Security 14.115
avast! Internet Security 2015
Kaspersky Internet Security 2015
AVG Internet Security 2015
Kingsoft Internet Security 2013.SP7.5
AVIRA Internet Security 14.0
Lavasoft Pro Security 11.4
Baidu Security Suite 4.0.9
McAfee Internet Security 2015
Bitdefender Internet Security 2015
Panda Internet Security 15.0
BullGuard Internet Security 14.1
Qihoo 360 Internet Security 5.0
Emsisoft Internet Security 9.0
Sophos Endpoint Protection 10.3
eScan Internet Security Suite 14.0
ThreatTrack Vipre Internet Security 2015
ESET Smart Security 8.0
Tencent QQ PC Manager 8.10
Fortinet FortiClient 5.0.9
Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security 8.0
Please note that the results in this report apply only to the products/versions listed above (e.g. 64Bit versions, product version, etc.). Also, keep in mind that different vendors offer different (and
differing quantities of) features in their products.
The following activities/tests were performed under an up-to-date Windows 8.1 64-Bit system:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
File copying
Archiving / Unarchiving
Encoding / Transcoding
Installing / Uninstalling applications
Launching applications
Downloading files
PC Mark 8 Professional Testing Suite
1
We used the latest product versions available at time of testing (October 2014). Additionally, Microsoft Windows Defender integrated in Windows 8.1 has also been evaluated.
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Test methods
The tests were performed on an Acer Aspire XC600 machine with an Intel Core i5-3330 CPU (3GHz),
4GB of RAM and SATA II hard disks. The performance tests were done on a clean and fully updated
Windows 8.1 64-Bit system (English) and then with the installed Internet security software (with
default settings). The tests were done with an active Internet connection to allow for the real-world
impact of cloud services/features.
The hard disks were defragmented before starting the various tests, and care was taken to minimize
other factors that could influence the measurements and/or comparability of the systems. Optimizing
processes/fingerprinting used by the products were also considered – this means that the results represent the impact on a system which has already been operated by the user for a while. The tests were
repeated several times (with and without fingerprinting) in order to get mean values and filter out
measurement errors. After each run, the workstation was defragmented and rebooted. We simulated
various file operations that a computer user would execute: copying2 different types of clean files
from one place to another, archiving and unarchiving files, encoding and transcoding3 audio and video files, converting DVD files to iPod format, downloading files from the Internet, launching applications, etc. We also used a third-party, industry-recognized performance testing suite (PC Mark 8 Professional) to measure the system impact during real-world product usage. Readers are invited to evaluate the various products themselves, to see how they impact on their systems (due to e.g. software
conflicts and/or user preferences, as well as different system configurations that may lead to varying
results).
Security products need to load on systems at an early stage to provide security from the very beginning – this load has some impact on the time needed for a system to start up. Measuring boot times
accurately is challenging. The most significant issue is to define exactly when the system is fully
started, as many operating environments may continue to perform start-up activities for some time
after the system appears responsive to the user. It is also important to consider when the protection
provided by the security solution being tested is fully active, as this could be a useful measure of
boot completion as far as the security solution is concerned. Some security products load their services very late at boot (or even minutes later). Users may notice that some time after the system has
loaded, it will become very slow for a little while; thus, it initially looks as though the system has
loaded very quickly, but in fact the security product just loads its services belatedly, leaving the system more vulnerable. As we find this misleading, we still do not publish boot times in our reports.
2
3
We use around 3GB of data consisting of various file types and sizes (pictures, movies, audio files, various
MS Office documents, PDF files, applications/executables, Windows operating system files, archives, etc.).
Converting MP3 files to WAV, MP3 to WMA and AVI to MP4
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Notes and comments
The on-access/real-time scanner component of anti-virus software runs as a background process to
check all files that are accessed, in order to protect the system continuously against malware threats.
For example, on-access scanners scan files as soon as they are accessed, while (e.g.) behaviourblockers add a different layer of protection and monitor what the file does when it is already executed/running. The services and processes that run in the background to do these tasks also require and
use system resources. Suite products usually have a higher impact on system performance than antivirus-only products, as more services/features are included and running in the background.
Security products need to be active deep in the system in order to protect it, e.g. to scan processes
and so on that are already active during the system start-up, to identify rootkits and other malware.
Those procedures add some extra time and thus a delay in system boot/start up.
If a product takes up too many system resources, users get annoyed and may either disable or uninstall some essential protective features (and thus considerably compromise the security of their system) or may switch to security software that is less resource-hungry. Therefore, it is important not
only that anti-virus software provides high detection rates and good protection against malware, but
also that it does not degrade system performance or trouble users.
While this report looks at how much impact various Internet security products have on system performance, it is not always the security software that is principally responsible for a slow system. Other
factors also play a role, and if users follow some simple rules, system performance can be improved
noticeably. The next sections address some of the other factors that may play a part.
A few common problems observed on some user PCs:
-
Old hardware: If a PC already runs at a snail’s pace because it has ten-year-old hardware, using modern (security) software may make it unusable.
o If possible, buy a new PC that at least meets the minimum recommended requirements of
the software you want to use. Multi-Core processors are preferable.
o Adding more RAM does not hurt. If you use Windows 7 or Windows 8, you should use a
minimum of 4GB of RAM. If you use Windows XP or Vista, switch to Windows 7 or Windows
8.1 64-Bit.
o Make sure you have only ONE security program with real-time protection. If your new PC
came with a trial security suite, remove this before installing a different protection program.
-
Keep all your software up-to-date: Using an anti-virus version from e.g. 2012 may not protect you as well as the newer version would, even though you may still be able to update the
signatures. Please visit http://update.microsoft.com regularly and keep your operating system
up-to-date by installing the recommended patches. Any software can have vulnerabilities and
bugs, so keep all the software installed on your PC up-to-date: this will not only protect you
against many exploits and vulnerabilities, but also give you any other application improvements that have been introduced.
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Clean up the content of your hard disk:
o If your hard disk is almost full, your system performance will suffer accordingly. Leave at
least 20% of your disk space free and transfer your movies and other infrequently accessed files to another (external) disk. If money is not an issue, consider buying solidstate drives (SSDs).
o Uninstall unneeded software. Often, the slowdown that users notice after installing an anti-virus product is due to other software on the PC running in the background (that is,
due to software conflicts or heavy file access by other programs, each access requiring anti-virus scanning).
o Remove unneeded entries/shortcuts from the Start-Up folder in the All Programs menu.
o If your PC is already messed up by residual files and registry entries left over by hundreds
of applications you installed and uninstalled after trying them out, reinstall a clean operating system and install only software you really need (fewer software installations means
fewer potential vulnerabilities and conflicts, and so on) and use e.g. an image/backup
tool in order to ensure that you do not have to reinstall everything manually in future.
-
Defragment your hard disks regularly: A fragmented hard disk can have a very big impact on
system performance as well as considerably increasing the time needed to boot up the system.
Please note that this does not apply to solid-state drives (SSDs).
-
Fingerprinting/Optimization: most anti-virus products use various technologies to decrease their
impact on system performance. Fingerprinting is such a technology, where already scanned files
do not get rescanned again for a while (or more rarely) or are whitelisted. This increases the
speed considerably (especially after a longer period of PC usage), but also adds some potential
risk, as not all files are scanned anymore. It is up to the user to decide what to do. We suggest
regularly performing a full-system scan (to be sure that all files are at least currently found to be
clean, and to further optimize the fingerprinting).
-
Be patient: a delay of a few additional seconds due to security software is not necessarily a big
deal. However, if even with the suggestions above the performance of your PC still annoys you,
you should consider trying out another anti-virus product. If you only notice a slow-down after
using the anti-virus for a long time, there are probably other factors behind the slowdown. Never
reduce your security by disabling essential protection features, just in the hope of gaining a
slightly faster PC!
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Test cases
File copying
Some anti-virus products ignore some types of files by design/default (e.g. based on their file
extensions), or use fingerprinting technologies, which may skip already scanned files in order to
increase the speed (see comments on page 6). We copied a set of various common file types from one
physical hard disk to another physical hard disk.
Archiving and unarchiving
Archives are commonly used for file storage, and the impact of anti-virus software on the time taken
to create new archives or to unarchive files from existing archives may be of interest for most users.
We archived a set of different file types that are commonly found on home and office workstations.
The results already consider the fingerprinting/optimization technologies of the anti-virus products,
as most users usually make archives of files they have on their disk.
Encoding/transcoding
Music files are often stored and converted on home systems, and converting such files takes system
resources. Because of this, many home users may be interested to know if their anti-virus product
imposes a slowdown while converting multimedia files from one format to another. We encoded and
transcoded some multimedia files with FFmpeg and HandBrakeCLI.
Installing/uninstalling applications
We installed several popular applications with the silent install mode, then uninstalled them and
measured how long it took. We did not consider fingerprinting, because usually an application is installed only once.
Launching applications
Microsoft Office and PDF files are very common. We opened and then later closed some large document files in Microsoft Office and some large PDF files in Adobe Acrobat Reader. The time taken for
the viewer or editor application to launch, and afterwards to close, was measured. Although we list
the results for the first opening and the subsequent openings, we consider the subsequent openings
more important, as normally this operation is done several times by users, and optimization of the
anti-virus products take place, minimizing their impact on the systems.
Downloading files
Large files are downloaded from a local server with a GUI-less browser that allows sending HTTP requests in the background. Additionally, the content of several popular websites are fetched via wget,
also from a local server.
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Test results
These specific test results show the impact on system performance that anti-virus products have,
compared to the other tested anti-virus products. The reported data just gives an indication and is
not necessarily applicable in all circumstances, as too many factors can play an additional part.
As we noticed that delivering percentages can easily be misinterpreted by users (as well as misused by
marketing departments or the press), and percentages would need adjustments when other hardware
specifications are being used, we grouped the percentage results by clustering them. The impact within those categories does not statistically differ, also considering error measurements. The testers defined the categories by consulting statistical methods like hierarchical clustering, and taking into
consideration what would be noticed from the user’s perspective, or compared to the impact of the
other security products. As the single performance results (page 9) are built using clusters, if some
products are faster/slower than others this is reflected in the results. We give the mean values (the
percentages refer to a system without a security product) of the clusters as an indication only:
File copying
(subsequent runs)
Archiving/unarchiving
-
mediocre
The mean value of
this cluster is
over +60%
-
-
-
Installing/uninstalling
-
Encoding/transcoding
-
The mean value of
this cluster is
over +40%
-
Open Office documents
(on first run)
Open Office documents
(on subsequent runs)
Open PDF (on first run)
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
The mean value of
this cluster is
over +60%
File copying
(first run)
Open PDF (on subsequent
runs)
Downloading files
slow
-
-8-
fast
The mean value of this
cluster is under +60%
very fast
The mean value of this
cluster is under +30%
The mean value of this
cluster is over +30%
The mean value of this
cluster is over +15%
The mean value of this
cluster is under +40%
The mean value of this
cluster is under +30%
The mean value of this
cluster is under +15%
The mean value of this
cluster is under +20%
-
The mean value of this
cluster is under 3%
The mean value of this
cluster is under +40%
The mean value of this
cluster is under +20%
The mean value of this
cluster is under +40%
The mean value of this
cluster is under +15%
The mean value of this
cluster is under +30%
The mean value of this
cluster is over +40%
The mean value of this
cluster is over +20%
The mean value of this
cluster is over +40%
The mean value of this
cluster is over +15%
The mean value of this
cluster is under +60%
Anti-Virus Comparative - Performance Test (Internet Security Products) – October 2014
File copying
Vendor
On first run
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Overview of single AV-C performance scores
Launching applications
Installing/
Archiving/
Encoding/
Open Office
uninstalling
Open PDF
unarchiving
transcoding
documents
applications
On subsequent runs
On first run
AhnLab
Avast
AVG
Avira
Baidu
Bitdefender
BullGuard
Emsisoft
eScan
ESET
Fortinet
F-Secure
Kaspersky Lab
Kingsoft
Lavasoft
McAfee
Microsoft
Panda
Qihoo
Tencent
Trend Micro
Sophos
ThreatTrack
Key:
slow
mediocre
fast
very fast
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On subsequent runs
On first run
On subsequent runs
Downloading
files
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PC Mark Tests
In order to provide an industry-recognized performance test, we used the PC Mark 8 Professional Edition4 testing suite. Users using PC Mark 8 benchmark5 should take care to minimize all external factors
that could affect the testing suite, and strictly follow at least the suggestions documented inside the
PC Mark manual, in order to get consistent and valid/useful results. Furthermore, the tests should be
repeated several times to verify them. For more information about the various consumer scenarios
tests included in PC Mark, please read the whitepaper on their website6.
“Without IS”7 is tested on a baseline8 system, which scores 100 points in the PC Mark 8 Work benchmark.
without IS
ESET
Avast
AhnLab
F-Secure
Kingsoft
Qihoo
Avira
Bitdefender
Emsisoft
eScan
Kaspersky Lab
Sophos
Panda
Baidu
BullGuard
AVG
Fortinet
McAfee
Lavasoft
ThreatTrack Vipre
Trend Micro
Tencent
4
5
6
7
8
PC Mark 8
points
100
98.8
98.3
98.0
97.8
97.7
97.5
97.3
97.1
96.7
96.5
94.8
For more information, see http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark8
PCMark® is a registered trademark of Futuremark Corporation.
http://www.futuremark.com/downloads/pcmark8-technical-guide.pdf (PDF)
The PC Mark score with active Windows Defender would be 97,4.
Baseline system: Intel Core i5-3330 machine with 4GB RAM
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Summarized results
Users should weight the various subtests according to their needs. We applied a scoring system in
order to sum up the various results.
For “file copying”, we took the mean values, as well as for “launching applications” (on subsequent
runs). As in previous performance reports, “very fast” gets 15 points, “fast” gets 10 points, “mediocre” gets 5 points and “slow” gets zero points. This leads to the following results:
AV-C Score
90
PC Mark Score
98.8
TOTAL
188.8
Impact Score
1.2
90
97.7
187.7
2.3
88
88
97.8
97.3
185.8
185.3
4.2
4.7
Qihoo
AVG, Fortinet
Avast
85
85
83
97.8
97.1
98.3
182.8
182.1
181.3
7.2
7.9
8.7
AhnLab, F-Secure
Emsisoft, eScan
Panda
McAfee
ThreatTrack Vipre
Trend Micro
BullGuard
Tencent
Lavasoft
80
80
80
80
80
78
76
73
68
98.0
97.7
97.5
97.1
96.7
96.5
97.3
94.8
96.7
178.0
177.7
177.5
177.1
176.7
174.5
173.3
167.8
164.7
12.0
12.3
12.5
12.9
13.3
15.5
16.7
22.2
25.3
ESET
Avira, Bitdefender,
Kaspersky Lab, Sophos
Kingsoft
Baidu
The out-of-box system impact score with enabled Windows Defender on Microsoft Windows 8.1 is 9,6.
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Award levels reached in this test
The following award levels are for the results reached in this performance test report9. Please note
that the performance test only tells you how much impact an Internet security product may have on a
system compared to other Internet security products (please read the note on page 8); it does not tell
anything about the effectiveness of the protection a product provides, so please have also a look at
the results of recent Real-World Protection and File Detection tests on our website.
PRODUCTS10
AWARDS
ESET
Avira
Bitdefender
Kaspersky Lab
Sophos
Kingsoft
Baidu
Qihoo
AVG
Fortinet
Avast
AhnLab
F-Secure
Emsisoft
eScan
Panda
McAfee
ThreatTrack Vipre
Trend Micro
BullGuard
Tencent
Lavasoft
-
The above awards have been given based on our assessment of the overall impact results with default
settings under Windows 8.1 64-Bit.
9
10
Microsoft Windows Defender was tested out-of-competition and is therefore not included in the awards page.
We suggest considering products with the same award to be as light as the other products with same award.
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Copyright and Disclaimer
This publication is Copyright © 2014 by AV-Comparatives®. Any use of the results, etc. in whole or in
part, is ONLY permitted if the explicit written agreement of the management board of AVComparatives is given prior to any publication. AV-Comparatives and its testers cannot be held liable
for any damage or loss, which might occur as a result of, or in connection with, the use of the information provided in this paper. We take every possible care to ensure the correctness of the basic data,
but no representative of AV-Comparatives can he held liable for the accuracy of the test results. We do
not give any guarantee of the correctness, completeness, or suitability for a specific purpose of any of
the information/content provided at any given time. No one else involved in creating, producing or
delivering test results shall be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damage, or loss of profits, arising out of, or related to, the use or inability to use, the services provided by the website, test
documents or any related data.
AV-Comparatives (November 2014)
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