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Testing times

Steve Broadhead of network performance testing firm Broadband Reports has recently carried out performance tests commissioned by Trend Micro that also looked at the performance of other antivirus scanners. He said Sunbelt's figures don't apply to the latest version of products he tested and fail to take into account the effect of using cloud-based architectures on performance, among other factors.

"Sunbelt's test is on the right lines, but it's not up to date," Broadhead told El Reg. "The cloud methodology really does work, as do features such as the CPU throttling, so you really need that feature comparison info as well in order to put a case forward either way."

Independent testing lab AV-Test is evaluating the merits of the new 2010 edition of anti-virus software packages, which stared to appear on the market from late June onwards.

AV-Test is yet to include comparative performance reviews in its tests, which concentrate on malware detection. Andreas Marx of AV-Test did however offer some general comments, comparing the speed of products the German Labs has recently put through its paces.

"From my 'user experience' I can tell you that the Microsoft product (Morro beta) was rather slow, but both the Kaspersky and Panda suites didn't had a dramatic impact on the system performance," Marx told El Reg. "They were working rather fast, especially when compared with other scanners or the previous (2009) editions."

When compared with the previous versions, F-Secure 2009 scans performed a lot faster. A change of anti-virus engine improved lagging virus guard performance in particular, AV-Test reports.

The German testing lab has also put Norton AntiVirus 2010 through its paces, reporting that scans after a complete system analysis were significantly faster than in previous releases of Norton products.

Sunbelt have put their finger on a problem involving the system performance of antivirus software. However since there's little agreement on how to measure resource hogging then quantifying the problem - much less solving it - may be difficult. ®

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