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Best Free AV for a low RAM computer?

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#16 +Xinok


    Resident Reresident

  • Joined: 28-May 04
  • Location: Shikaka
  • OS: Windows 7 x64
  • Phone: Galaxy S3

Posted 02 April 2010 - 20:12

From personal experience, I can say that Avira Antivir is the fastest antivirus, followed by Avast and last MSE.

As for memory usage, I decided to do an actual test in a virtual machine. Windows XP 32-bit, 384mb RAM. I installed the antivirus and rebooted afterwards. The screenshots were taken after the OS was fully booted.

MSE comes in first with 240,460 KB available.
Avast comes in second with 219,568 KB.
Avira Antivir had the least RAM available, at 181,628 KB.

Avast 1.png Avast 2.png

Avira Antivir
Avira 1.png Avira 2.png

Microsoft Security Essentials
MSE 1.png MSE 2.png

#17 TDT


    Hey yo!

  • Tech Issues Solved: 2
  • Joined: 17-March 10
  • Location: Bucharest, Romania

Posted 02 April 2010 - 20:15

MSE, all the way.

#18 Tarzan



  • Joined: 01-June 02

Posted 03 April 2010 - 09:56

Ram usage is of little importance even with only 512mb though not entirely sure about MSE! What slow down computer is cpu usage and hd activity while AV is doing real time protection. If an X AV take 1 hour longer than Y to do a full scan it can still be faster and easier on computer. The big news in Avast 5 is that after a full scan only new or modified files will be scanned = minimal overhead. Also possible to deactivate modules not really doing much good. File System Shield is enough but probably useful to add network shield since it blocks malware domains. The also new behavoir blocker should of course also be used but I have no idea how effective/relevant to real usage it is.

You should test with task manager, process explorer/monitor after a full scan and over a period of time doing different tasks.

Xinok: check system cache relationship to avail memory, but unless real numbers monitored under real conditions for relevant processes are crazy it does not matter that much. I know MSE can use 80-120+mb on 64bit Windows so not 100% sure about that one. Should use less on a 512mb XP computer I would guess. But a static 1kb is still no good if it slows down computer. If Avasts http scanner slow down browsing, cause cpu spikes or whatever it is also no good.

#19 TokiToki



  • Joined: 19-July 07
  • Location: California

Posted 05 April 2010 - 20:02

Sadly it is not my computer, so simply increasing the ram is not an option. I had MSE running on it before and it just seemed really slow compared to before I installed it. Trust me, if I could, I would increase the ram. To give you an idea of how old the computer is, it has an AMD Athlon XP-M 2800+ processor (1.6Ghz) , with only 512MB of ram, and it came with a CD-ROM drive. It now has a DVD drive in it as well, but its so old it actually came stock with a CD drive only.

If MSE is one of the lightest AVs then so be it, I will simply stick with it on this machine, was just hoping there was something out there that was a bit lighter.

I'm a few days late, but I can say with experience that MSE is dog slow on an Athlon XP computer (I have an old XP 2500+ computer). MSE consumes a lot of CPU resources for long periods of time on that machine. I personally use Avira Antivir on that machine and it much lighter than MSE.