Antivirus Software Performance Benchmarks

The following Antivirus Software Performance Benchmarks tests were conducted by ESET's partner 4D Digital Security.

How does your antivirus solution compare?

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Test Environment
  • Dell Inspiron 2600 computer
  • Pentium 1.13 GHz Celeron CPU
  • 256mb RAM
  • 30gb HDD
  • Fresh installation of Windows XP (Dell OEM)
  • Approximately 12gb of hard disk space occupied on the test-bed computer, consisting of:
    • Operating system installation
    • Microsoft Office XP installation
    • Varying small and large Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access)
    • Varying small and large image files (JPEG’s from a digital camera)
    • Varying small and large files of other types (archives, mpegs, text files, etc)
  • The end result is a large quantity and vast variety of different file types ranging in size
    from a few bytes to 1.5 gigabytes.
Test Procedure
  • The performance tests were conducted by a 4D Digital Security engineer
  • The entire benchmark process was supervised and performed in the presence of an independent
  • auditor from the international audit firm group BDO
  • The results of the process were verified by BDO

Test 1: “On-demand” C: drive scan

  • The software being tested performs a full manual scan of the C: drive, and the length of
    time taken is recorded.
  • Test 1 was broken down into 1a and 1b. Test 1a was performed with the software’s default
    settings, and Test 1b is performed with “maximum” settings, which attempt to force the
    software to scan all file types, extensions, archives, etc.
  • This test serves to provide an indication as to the speed and efficiency of the antivirus
    software program’s scanning engine while handling large quantities of varying data.

Test 2: “On-Access” speed degradation

  • This test serves to measure to what degree the resident “on-access” scanner of the tested
    software degrades the performance of the test-bed computer during the opening/closing of
    a Microsoft Office file.
  • A 183kb Excel spreadsheet, replicated 200 times across 2 folders was opened and closed
    using an Excel macro as fast as possible, and the time taken to open and close all 200 files
  • This test was performed initially without any antivirus resident scanner installed, in order to
    ascertain a benchmark figure for the speed of the computer without any antivirus program
    present, and then with each subsequent resident scanner installed and active.
  • This test shows to what degree the different resident scanners slow down the daily use
    of a computer and degrade it’s performance, compared to when no antivirus is employed.


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