Security solutions slow down PCs. Over the past several weeks, the TuneUp Blog team has been using a variety of measurement techniques and determining which of the current security products have the most / least impact in terms of performance. We’ve already benchmarked Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 and Norton Internet Security 2011, and this time, we’re focusing on Russia-based Kaspersky Lab. The company’s Internet Security 2011 has been widely praised, but there is little information as to resource management.
Like our previous tests for this anti-virus series, we took a scenario-based approach. I installed Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 and used the system for a couple of days, with at least 20 reboots. Then, over the course of an hour, we performed a variety of steps (just like typical PC users), including booting up our system, launching a web browser, opening a photo or extracting a ZIP folder. Of course, we also included our typical batch of synthetic benchmarks using PCMark Vantage and Cinebench. Now, let’s get to the performance results!
Timecode 00:00:00 – Scenario Starts / Boot Performance
Following the installation of Kaspersky Internet Security 2011, the whole boot process felt like molasses. Skype launched 31 seconds later than usual, and Live Messenger needed way more than one minute to fully boot.
I wasn’t able to do anything during the entire start-up process. The desktop and opening windows were totally unresponsive; it took about four to five minutes until I was able to perform any task. Before I installed the security solution, things felt a bit slow during the first couple of minutes upon startup, but I was able to open some folders and click around the Start menu.
Timecode 00:10:00 – Resource Check
Fortunately, Task Manager revealed a very modest usage of hardware resources: 70 MB of RAM, and only two processes were necessary to run Kaspersky Internet Security 2011. Fantastic! I even watched the main process (avp.exe) for a couple of days, and it never caused any significant processor or memory spikes—at least not for a long period of time. This low usage ensures that other applications run smoothly and without interruption.
Timecode 00:11:30 – Browser Start
I noticed a delay of about one second when launching Google Chrome. This one second isn’t significant, but it shows that the security solution’s real-time protection caused a lot of background activity. It probably checked chrome.exe and all of the files the browser needed in order to launch. Fortunately, re-opening the browser was blazing fast as usual, and while browsing, I didn’t experience any delays no matter how many tabs I opened.
Timecode 00:12:30 – Launch Outlook
Due to an added anti-spam plug-in, Outlook 2011 took almost twice as long to launch. It is the same delay that occured during the Norton Internet Security 2011 test. I also noticed that switching between e-mail folders, using the search feature and even opening e-mails wasn’t as responsive as it used to be. Between all of these operations, there was a noticeable delay of about a half to one second—if you live in your e-mail client like I do, this is annoying. These anti-virus companies need to make sure to optimize their anti-spam plug-ins in a fashion that doesn’t compromise performance.
Timecode 00:14:30 – Open PhotoImpact
Fortunately, running PhotoImpact and applying a filter on a large photo didn’t take much longer than before. There was an average delay of about one second, and in this case, that was barely noticeable.
Timecode 00:16:30 – Open PowerDirector
PowerDirector’s start-up performance was bad—really bad. My video project, which consisted of a handful of pictures and one HD video, needed twice as long to load before I could start working on it. This performance delay is inexcusable.
I couldn’t imagine how this would affect projects with several dozens of videos, photos, effect layers and audio tracks. Thanks to the low resource utilization of Kaspersky Internet Security 2011, the conversion itself was fast as usual—55 seconds.
Timecode 00:19:30 – Convert MP3 File
The story was quite different when using iTunes to convert a 220 MB audio file. The conversion time went up 61 seconds. Of course, that’s about a tenth of a performance loss and doesn’t sound like much, but it’s still an unnecessary performance loss.
Timecode 00:30:30 – Large File Copy
Copying a 184 MB ZIP file across my home network took 10 seconds longer than usual on every repeat of this test. On several other tests I performed, performance was a bit lower than usual as well; if I’m a network worker, I’d actually think twice before using Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 and look into alternative security solutions. While Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 and Norton Internet Security 2011 caused a slowdown on the first file transfer, subsequent transfer operations were faster.
Timecode 00:35:00 – Large File Extraction
Extracting the ZIP file (330 files in total) took five seconds longer with the Kaspersky software installed. This isn’t as bad as Norton Internet Security 2011, which caused a 10 second delay, but it’s on par with Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0.
Timecode 00:38:00 – Cinebench Results
(More points equals better performance)
The CPU and GPU tests of Cinebench 11.5 caused 100% resource utilization for several minutes—and thankfully, Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 didn’t interfere with the rendering operations and didn’t cause any slowdown.
Timecode 00:47:00 – PCMark Results
(More points equals better performance)
While the results of Cinebench were quite good, PCMark’s gaming and productivity tests revealed a noticeable slowdown. The gaming scenario stuttered a bit, resulting in a lower average FPS count. The productivity score revealed that average file transfer speeds were a bit lower than usual.
Performance Results: Kaspersky Internet Security 2011
CPU, RAM and GPU utilization of this security solution were actually really good in most cases. There was no or only minimal impact on performance when converting the video using Power Director or when using Cinebench. On the other hand, start-up times of applications and especially Windows’ boot process took quite a performance hit. On average, Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 proved to fall behind in terms of the other solutions we’ve tested so far.
26 Responses to “Do Security Solutions Slow Down Your PC? (Part 4 – Kaspersky Internet Security 2011)”
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