Best Internet Security Suites 2011 Buyers Guide

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Performance Impact and Scan Time

The fifth and final category deals with how much the security software slowed down our test computer. Points are distributed across two categories:

1.     System performance impact measured with Futuremark PCMark benchmark suite (6 points)

2.     Time it took to complete a full scan of our test system (4 points)

Solution

Performance Impact

Scan Time

TOTAL

McAfee Total Protection 2010

6

3

9

Webroot Security Complete 2011

6

3

9

BitDefender Total Security 2011

6

3

9

Panda Global Protection 2011

5

1

6

ESET Smart Security 4

6

4

10

Trend Micro Maximum Security 2011

6

3

9

Norton 360

6

4

10

Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

6

3

9

CA Internet Security 2011

5

3

8

PC Tools Internet Security 2011

5

3

8

Just about every suite did OK in this test. Panda, CA, and PC Tools received one point off the performance score because they made our test system feel sluggish at times. For the scan times, I awarded 4 points to those under one hour, 3 points to those between one and two hours, and one point for over two hours. Panda was the only suite over two hours at 2:23; all the other suites stayed between 1:01 and 1:43 except for ESET and Norton, who had the fastest scan times at 41 and 50 minutes, respectively.

Conclusion

And the moment we have all been waiting for . . . final ratings:

Solution

Protection

In Use

Parental Controls

Anti-Spam

Performance

TOTAL

McAfee Total Protection 2010

25

4

11

1

9

50

Webroot Security Complete 2011

30

5

0

1

9

45

BitDefender Total Security 2011

28

6

13

4

9

60

Panda Global Protection 2011

28

4

8

1

6

47

ESET Smart Security 4

30

7

0

4

10

51

Trend Micro Maximum Security 2011

22

5

11

1

9

48

Norton 360

28

6

13

1

10

58

Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

30

6

12

2

9

59

CA Internet Security 2011

28

4

12

1

8

53

PC Tools Internet Security 2011

22

5

0

4

8

39

And the best Internet security suite we reviewed in 2010 is:

BitDefender Total Security 2011

BitDefender took first place for several reasons. It excelled in nearly every category; it has excellent overall protection, the best-designed interface, includes excellent parental controls, and anti-spam support, and did not slow our system down.

Norton and Kaspersky came in neck-and neck just behind BitDefender; they would have shared first place if not for their anti-spam implementations. ESET, normally a favorite in past comparisons, lost too much from its lack of parental controls.

PC Tools, while it scored low, is worth mentioning; if all you want is Internet security and don’t need parental controls or extras, it is a good value at $50 covering three PCs. Of course, “value” is subjective and will depend on what features you require.

Overall, I noticed a continued improvement in quality from previous iterations in every suite. The competition continues to get closer and closer every year.

Remember — although some products rated higher than others, all ten suites individually passed our tests and are therefore recommendable.

 

 



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