Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

We just installed Windows 7 in our brand new PC that we build ourselves. There are heaps of antivirus software out there, avast, panda, avg, etc. We would like to balance between speed and security.

When we talk about speed, we want to have an antivirus that does not consume too much CPU. In term of security, we want to to have an antivirus that can scan emails, downloads, and a rich virus database.

Does anyone know a good way to benchmark an antivirus CPU consumption, and a way to compare different antivirus's virus database ?

share|improve this question

Well, you could install each antivirus on a fresh install of windows, find some test files for detection and than watch Task Manager or create a set of performance monitors in Windows...

There are a lot of AV's out there and it would consume some time, though I would applaud your efforts and would like to see your findings.

I would recommend looking at reviews from CNET or AV-Comparatives (several sources) to come to a informed conclusion.

I recommend starting at, I have found the comparisons unbiased, thorough and reliable.

share|improve this answer

Well you could get the trial of each AV scanner and on a fresh install of Windows test it's general performance and CPU usage while scanning. Then go some where like and start going to the domains listed there, you are guaranteed to start getting some virus's from any website on there. Just keep track of which domains you go to and mark down which scanner finds virus's from which website. Alternately there are a few databases which catalog and make virus's available for download (I'm not posting these on a public forum). Then rinse and repeat.

I feel like the above method is very time consuming.... so you could also go to AV-Comparatives and read their in depth reviews. They are great source of AV comparisons and benchmarks and they run these tests every quarter so the comparatives are quite up to date. This will also save you a boat load of time.

share|improve this answer

This is the way I track how much resources background presses use.

You should come up with sample scenario, you can even apply this to lets say two days of normal use.

1.Restart your computer,

2. run the apps, without restarting your machine now.

3. bring up task manager

4. bring up columns dialog. (View > Columns)

5. select Check CPU time

6. and some IO, (Bytes Read/Bytes Written)

Now you can go over all the process that run in background and see how much of your CPU Time, and disk IO read/writes they were responsible for.

I also use this to audit my computer regularly. every once in a while I bring up task manager to see which background process has used the most CPU time.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .