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Performance & Benchmarks

Incredible speeds, bulletproof security

PassmarkPassMark® Software Pty Ltd is the leading authority in software and hardware performance benchmarking and testing. PassMark Software specialises in providing expert, independent software evaluation and performance benchmarking services to some of the world’s largest security vendors and IT companies.

PassMark Software has also developed a comprehensive range of lightweight PC benchmark and diagnostic solutions used worldwide by hundreds of thousands of home users, government organisations and businesses. In June 2010, PassMark Software tested business anti-malware products from seven leading vendors and compared product performance, impact on system performance, effectiveness and usability. Categories represent major functions or feature sets common to the sphere of business security.

Installation Time

In offering new features and functionality to users, internet security software products tend to increase in size with each new release. Although new technologies push the size limits of hard drives each year, the growing disk space requirements of common applications and the increasing popularity of large media files (such as movies, photos and music) ensure that a product’s installation size will remain of interest to users.

This metric measures the total additional disk space consumed by the client after installation and a manual update. Our final result is measured in megabytes (MB).

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Installation Size

The speed and ease of the installation process will strongly influence the user’s first impression of the internet security software.

The following chart compares the minimum installation time it takes for Internet Security products to be fully functional and ready for use by the end user. Products with lower installation times are considered better performing products in this category.

Registry Key Count

A large registry increases a machine’s use of resources. This may negatively impact system performance, especially on much older machines.

The following chart compares the amount of Registry Keys created during product installation for each Internet Security product tested. Products with lower key counts are considered better performing products in this category.

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Computer Start-up Time

Many internet security software suites create start up tasks and processes, causing machine boot times to take significantly longer. End users can do little but wait for their machine to become responsive. Better performing products will have less of an impact on boot time.

The following chart compares the average time taken for the system to boot (from a sample of five boots) for each Internet Security product tested. Products with lower boot times are considered better performing products in this category.

Average Scan Time

Many internet security software suites have ways of remembering safe files that have been previously been scanned since product installation, reducing the time it takes to rescan them. This metric measured the average amount of time required to run and initial scan and then run a subsequent scan on a set of clean files, with a restart occurring after the previous scan to remove file caching effects. Our sample file set comprised of files that would typically be found on end-user machines, such as media files, system files and Microsoft Office documents. The initial scan time while forming part of the average is not included in this report.

The following chart compares the average time taken to scan a set of 8052 files (totalling 5.4 GB) for each Internet Security product tested. This time is calculated by averaging the initial scan time with 5 subsequent scans performed with a restart since the previous scan. Products with lower scan times are considered better performing products in this category.

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Interface Launch Time

This metric provides an objective indication as to how responsive an internet security product appears to the user, by measuring the amount of time it takes for the user interface of the internet security software to launch from Windows.

The following chart compares the average time taken to launch a product’s user interface. Products with lower launch times are considered better performing products in this category.

Memory Usage during System Idle

The amount of memory used while the machine is idle provides a good indication of the amount of system resources being consumed by the internet security software.

The following chart compares the average amount of RAM in use by an Internet Security product during a period of system idle. This average is taken from a sample of ten memory snapshots taken at roughly 60 seconds apart after reboot. Products with lower idle RAM usage are considered better performing products in this category.

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Peak Memory Usage

The amount of memory used while the machine is performing an update and scan provides a good indication of the amount of system resources being consumed by the internet security software. Better performing products occupy less memory while the machine is performing an update and scan operation.

The following chart compares the average amount of RAM in use by an Internet Security product during an update and scan operation. This average is taken from a sample of 25 memory snapshots taken at roughly 60 seconds apart. Products with lower RAM usage are considered better performing products in this category.

Microsoft Internet Explorer Launch Time

This metric is one of many methods to objectively measure how much an internet security product impacts on the responsiveness of the system. This metric measures the amount of time it takes to launch the user interface of Internet Explorer 8. To allow for caching effects by the operating system, both the initial launch time and the subsequent launch times were measured.

The following chart compares the average launch times of Internet Explorer after rebooting the machine for each Internet Security product we tested. Products with lower launch times are considered better performing products in this category.

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Third-Party Application Install Time

The installation speed of third party applications may be impacted by antivirus behaviour such as heuristics or real time malware scanning.

The following chart compares the average time taken to install a third party application for each Internet Security product tested. Products with lower times are considered better performing products in this category.

Network Throughput

This metric measures the amount of time taken to download a variety of files from a local server using the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which is the main protocol used on the web for browsing, linking and data transfer. Files used in this test include file formats that users would typically download from the web, such as images, archives, music files and movie files.

The following chart compares the average time to download a sample set of common file types for each Internet Security product tested. Products with lower times are considered better performing products in this category.

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File Format Conversion Times

This test measures the amount of time taken to convert an MP3 file to a WAV and subsequently, convert the same MP3 file to a WMA format.

The following chart compares the average time it takes for a sample file to be converted from one file format to another (MP3, WMA, WAV) for each Internet Security product tested. Products with lower times are considered better performing products in this category.

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