Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Norton Antivirus: The Clear Choice for SSDs

Today I walked up to my computer and noticed that all eight cores were pegged. I thought that was odd, since the computer should have been doing absolutely nothing. Then I noticed the "Norton Antivirus" logo in the bottom right. "Could it be?" I thought to myself.  Is there actually a consumer product on the market that is smart enough to use more than one core?!?

I tapped the keyboard, the Norton Antivirus banner disappeared, and all of the cores dropped back to idle.

I'm really impressed by this. I was trying to remember the last time I was impressed by antivirus software. I'm pretty sure the answer is "never."

Normally an antivirus application is limited by your hard drive's random access performance. Antivirus software processes files in a directory sequentially, but the files often aren't aren't laid out on the disk in that order. This means that the drive is mostly being accessed randomly, not sequentially, all of which is why it can take your antivirus software twelve hours to scan your hard drive, even with a fast hard drive and processor.

However, with an SSD, the system can maintain transfer rates in excess of 100MB/second, even with random access behavior. Crunching that much data per second is going to take more than one core, and, I'm impressed to say, Norton Antivirus appears to be up to the task.

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