Best AV solution for a gaming system

Discussion in 'General Software' started by Loaded Glove, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. Loaded Glove

    Loaded Glove [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    May 15, 2016
    Alot of people seem to really hate Norton products, but I've used their AV software for a very long time and don't understand why people are so against it. It doesn't actually seem to do much ever and that to me is actually a good thing. Only very rarely I get a taskbar notification that it has blocked something, but other than that it's almost completely "silent".

    That being said, I try to remain open to trying new things and am very curious to know what other people use. I'd like to know what various software people use in addition to what plugins like ad blockers and script blockers, etc. Mostly I'd like to hear from gamers because I'm starting to wonder if perhaps Norton AV has been interfering with me having the best possible gaming experiences all these years. I always seem to have some kind of performance issues, but until just recently, they were so small and subtle that they never killed the experience for me. If anything, just small stutters now and again, maybe an audio crackle here and there, things like that. Lately though on my latest build, almost every game I play seems to stutter alot and I'm thinking my choice of AV could be part of the problem.

    i7 4790k (not OC'ed... yet)
    2 x 8gb ddr3 1600
    Asus Z97-AR
    Samsung EVO 850 512gb boot
    Corsair CX750M

    Win 7 64

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.
     
  2. jmilcher

    jmilcher [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,118
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    I trust multiple online AV review sites. Norton rates low a majority of the time for one thing or another.

    Not being a Norton user I can't tell you what currently annoys me about their product.

    There are many free alternatives that work just as well or in many cases better
     
  3. Loaded Glove

    Loaded Glove [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    May 15, 2016
    Ok fair enough. What do you use then?
     
  4. michalrz

    michalrz 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,730
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    If you're a gamer, you might not find any AV that'll suit your needs. How about 'none'?
    During the recent 5 years or so I have only had experience with ESET, Avast and F-secure. Avast was giving me serious grief, messing with virtual network interfaces, constantly panicking about outdated versions of random software...
    The other two were okay (note: those were the paid ones, Avast was free :whistle:) but I still disable them during gaming.
    Let's not forget they update themselves to newer versions and that can introduce unwanted problems like exiting from a game to the desktop because a DB update happened.
    If you are a gamer, using any AV leaves your machine susceptible to performance issues due to network issues during updates, update checks and/or sending suspect files, scanning game maps, game libraries and executables on the fly, writing to a log file... Even though we have better computers nowadays, the AVs also evolved and their resource requirements continue to grow.
    Try simply disabling as much of the Norton as you can during your gaming sessions, or altogether. You might get away with just running periodic scans - malwarebytes and such.
     
  5. Loaded Glove

    Loaded Glove [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    May 15, 2016
    Those are definitely things to consider and the input is much appreciated as this is really gnawing at me. Seems like after all these years I still have so much to learn. Like now I just found out about something called DPC latency and the role that could be playing in all this. Been running this software called latencymon and it appears I have some pretty serious latency issues on my system, but I really don't know what to make of all this data as this is all very new to me. Deciding what antivirus solution I'm going to use and how to go about implementing it is just 1 piece of a much larger puzzle and for the 1st time in years I'm starting to feel really in over my head. lol
     
  6. bigdogchris

    bigdogchris [H]ard as it Gets

    Messages:
    17,787
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    I would use something that has very low overhead like Microsoft Security Essentials.
     
  7. rezerekted

    rezerekted 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,043
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Nortan has a bad reputation from their past software but I have read it is pretty good now. I don't use it because it isn't free. You can use free AV software that rates just as good or higher than Norton.
     
  8. Loaded Glove

    Loaded Glove [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    May 15, 2016
    I hear good things about MSE, but should I get an improved firewall as well? I hear Windows default firewall isn't very strong.
     
  9. bigdogchris

    bigdogchris [H]ard as it Gets

    Messages:
    17,787
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    A software firewall, is a firewall, is a firewall.

    You are protected by your ISP against many attacks. Attacks within your ISP are possible but that's what your home router is for (unless your hooked up directly to your cable modem). Then you have Windows firewall. That's three layers of security.
     
  10. Loaded Glove

    Loaded Glove [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    May 15, 2016
    Norton tells me it blocks things every once in awhile and after checking into every instance, they were not false positives. So if Norton goes bye bye off my system, what would have stopped those things?
     
  11. michalrz

    michalrz 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,730
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Is, by any chance, the same "thing" being detected in the same locations?
    Because, if so, it could mean you actually are infected and Norton is just removing only parts of it only to have them re-created later.

    Your DPC latency can be affected by a lot of things and it definitely is important for smooth gaming.
    The AV itself may be affecting it by heuristic checks. A bad soundcard driver can introduce latency, too. A misbehaving USB device can also become a culprit if it keeps spewing errors somewhere deep down. Luckily you don't have to read the whole internet for this, simply go by trial and error. Disconnect unneeded USB devices, try different drivers for LAN, IO, Sound, VGA.
    The difficult part would be setting IRQ numbers by hand, but that's a last resort kind of thing.
     
  12. Loaded Glove

    Loaded Glove [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    May 15, 2016
    Norton says it is blocking something inbound though, not deleting something on my drive. As for heuristic type behavior, I didn't think Norton had that kind of capability and instead was just able to cross reference a data base like most typical AV. A driver being the culprit is possible I guess, but I have pretty typical hardware so it's not like I'm using really old or uncommon drivers, just the same ones as everyone else.

    Sorry if it seems like I'm combativeley shooting your ideas down because I'm really not and if anything, I'm just really frustrated with all this. I will be trying to uninstall Norton and will disconnect devices and perhaps even try older drivers. The older drivers part does seem a bit jenk to me tbh, but if it works to provide better results and is stable, I guess I'd run with it.
     
  13. michalrz

    michalrz 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,730
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Nah, it's fine by me if you challenge ideas as long as you actually analyse them and in this case it seems you did.
    I wouldn't downgrade drivers, though. It's usually more troublesome than upgrading them.

    Okay, so, first of all, we started off with you considering a different AV, so obviously you had a good reason to.
    Then we got down to system latency which is just a very general symptom but says a lot.

    So let's focus on that first - DPC latency shows typically driver slowdowns. However, a disk intensive application like encoding to a hard drive can manifest itself in the form of higher latency also.

    Personally I use the one from Thesycon.de. It plots a bar graph along time. I'm assuming you're seeing some issues there, so it would be useful if you got the thing running and just try out various tasks.
    Like, as I'm typing this message and I have a CCTV monitor running in the background, I'm getting exactly 500us - the upper limit for "normal". I'm on a Core 2 era laptop.

    So, likewise, when does your latency go up? Is it in the green when idling? When playing music? When playing a movie? When you go into a game and alt-tab out to check the graph?
    Furthermore, you might want to fire up the Resource Monitor in task manager and check out if there is anything consuming your CPU time heavily, or your Storage, or your network. Idling should be idling - to put it simply.
    Could you take a screenshot of the 'detection' event by Norton? specifically what it blocks and where does it originate from? Do you have a router between yourself and the Intertubes?
    Yeah, kind of a lot to take in from one post, but that's basically "it" when it comes to determining if something is hogging resources.
     
  14. Loaded Glove

    Loaded Glove [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    May 15, 2016
    The main offenders for high latency tend to be: dxgkrnl.sys, nvlddmkm.sys and ndis.sys

    My hardware that's most relevant to those drivers: msi GTX980 4G (model with Frozr Hybrid, 2 fans) and Intel I218V (onboard) NIC

    Drivers are the latest and temps on my gpu remain well within safe ranges under full load, topping out around mid 60's and have only seen it hit 70 running DOOM on Ultra settings with vsync disabled.

    The scenarios that most often invoke latency are pretty random moments in games and certain web interactions like opening certain web pages, opening Steam. Audo issues are very random and I get pops/clicks in a plethora of random situations, but there are also plenty of times I get none. It's pretty random and something I really can't predictably reproduce.
     
  15. michalrz

    michalrz 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,730
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Yeah you nailed it down. Ndis is networking, the others are the GPU.
    Sorry if I missed it but what OS is that? sounds like Vista or 7. Amirite?
    Anyway you could show a screenshot? because, just maybe, the stalling is within "normal".
    Norton may be tapping to your network drivers in order to facilitate threat filtering but I'm not that much versed in its inner workings.
    I have two more ideas, if you want to try them before going to town with IRQs and reinstalls.
    Try pulling the network plugs, disconnect yourself from AlGoreNet and uninstall Norton OR disable its network filtering features.
    I'll leave the GPU part unaddressed for the time being because the first one sounds a bit more likely.
     
  16. DrLobotomy

    DrLobotomy [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    5,386
    Joined:
    May 19, 2016
    Avira Free Anti-Virus & Malwarebytes Free Version.
     
  17. Loaded Glove

    Loaded Glove [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    May 15, 2016
    Ok so basically I decided to get another motherboard since I read this model does tend to have DPC latency issues as well as some general stability issues. Ordered an MSI Z97 Gaming 5 board which I should have in a week. My plan then since I'll have to do a fresh install anyway, is wait till I have the new board, do a plethora of testing with my current board so I can decide what the final install on my new board will be and then recheck all the latency issues to see if I've got everything in order.

    Still not sure what AV I'm gonna use, but I'm looking in to all the options people have mentioned in this thread and am grateful to all of you who replied here!

    Because I'll be waiting a week for my new board to arrive, this thread will go idle for awhile till then I guess, but I will definitely be updating with my final results so people who helped and replied here can see how things turned out.

    Thanks again everyone!
     
  18. michalrz

    michalrz 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,730
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    It's a shame you didn't get around to posting actual screenshots of the DPC tool I mentioned. Because you might be on a wild goose chase and just wasted money.
    Also, please provide more data, like what OS, etc.

    Edit: you don't sound too noobish to try stuff like the resource monitor out :)
     
  19. Loaded Glove

    Loaded Glove [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    May 15, 2016
    My OP lists what OS and all my specs. Also I wanted a different motherboard anyway. As for posting screenies, not sure how that would help with the app you mentioned since it just shows an activity graph, but not the associated drivers. I did and have tried that tool before btw.
     
  20. michalrz

    michalrz 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,730
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Oh, sorry, my fault then. Skipped the OS line.
    As long as you still have your mobo - could you just maybe try to get resource monitor going? in task manager?
    It's not that I'm trying to spend your money for you, I'm just curious in nature and usually don't even reformat my systems, instead try to fix them. Sometimes i waste time that way, but I learn.
    Hmm... Well, if you're feeling adventurous, procmon from the Sysinternals Suite shows individual modules and their resource footprint. If you want to play around - I recommend that.
    Good luck.
    DrLobotomy's recommendation of Avira is one I'd second. I used it and liked it! Better than Avast IMHO.