5 Best Antivirus Software With Performance Optimization For PC Gamers

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Antivirus programs help you detect and prevent malware and viruses from infecting your system. However, the best antivirus for PC gamers lets you do it all without affecting system performance or showing pop-ups mid-game.

Let’s explore the best antivirus for PC gaming that offers great protection against cyber attacks, is less intrusive, doesn’t hog resources, and offers tools to improve gaming performance.

Do gaming PCs need antivirus?

Contrary to popular belief, avid gamers are as prone to cyber attacks as any other user who connects to the internet, even if you download games and mods from legitimate sites. You are also more likely to have your credit card or other payment information recorded on multiple services for quick online shopping.

A player account with valuable collectibles and add-ons is the main target for hackers. Common tactics used by cybercriminals to target gamers include:

  • Phishing– It involves sending a disguised fake email from a legitimate source. When you visit the website, you may be prompted to enter your username and password, which are then sent to hackers.
  • Malware—Intrusive software specially designed to destroy or take control of infected computers. Some malware like ransomware encrypts and holds your computer data hostage for ransom. Others, like keyloggers, quietly settle into your system, capturing every keystroke and sending it back to cybercriminals.

Related: What Is Ransomware And How To Remove It?

Using in-game money-making mods and fake emulators can also result in sharing your account details with shady sites or even installing a potentially unwanted program (PUP).

What are the best antivirus suites for gamers?

While most antivirus suites can protect your PC against these threats, sometimes these security utilities can be intrusive and monopolize system resources. Fortunately, security companies have tried to fix this problem by including game boosters or similar add-ons in their suite.

1. BitDefender Total Security

bitdefender antivirus profile

With a 99.9% approval rating from AV-Comparatives, BitDefender Total Security offers an excellent set of security components and bonus features. It is available on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS platforms.

To protect user privacy, it comes with a built-in VPN, password manager, video and audio protection, anti-tracker to prevent web trackers from collecting user data, and parental adviser functions.

Related: The Fastest VPN Services (One Is Even Completely Free)

You can create and configure custom profiles for games, movies, public Wi-Fi, and even battery saving. Using the gamer profile, you can optimize product settings for gaming, postpone programs and updates to the background, and adjust the power plan. You can also create a game list to activate the profile automatically when a game starts.

To download: BitDefender Total Security ($ 44.99 / year for up to five devices)

2. Kaspersky Anti-Virus

Kaspersky antivirus

If you don’t want a full range of advanced security features, Kaspersky Anti-Virus is a great alternative to BitDefender. It offers essential security utilities combined with great performance-enhancing and gaming-centric features.

With a near perfect score from independent antivirus testing organizations like AV Comparative and AV-Test, the primary antivirus offers identical protection to its older siblings. For example, its System Watcher feature helps protect against ransomware and other crypto lockers and roll back changes caused by the virus.

Additionally, you can configure the tool to disable scheduled tasks while running on battery power. Enabling game mode will prevent the antivirus from performing scans or updates and will block notifications when you play games or use apps in full screen mode. In addition, it defers computer scan tasks when the processor and disk systems are heavily loaded.

To download: Kaspersky Anti-Virus ($ 29.99 / year for up to three PCs)

3. Malwarebytes Premium

malwarebytes antivirus

Malwarebytes has gradually evolved into a full-fledged antivirus, replacing its earlier reputation as a simple assistant to your existing antivirus solution.

It comes with standard cybersecurity features like web, malware, ransomware, and exploit protection. Playback mode on the premium version suspends notifications and updates when selected apps are open. You can manually add media apps and games to the list to prioritize resources and stop intrusive pop-ups.

Additionally, you can choose to install the Malwarebytes Browser Guard extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Edge. It can stop annoying ads, phishing websites, and web trackers when you log in.

To download: Malwarebytes Premium ($ 39.99 / year for one device)

4. BullGuard Antivirus

bullguard antivirus

BullGuard Antivirus is another security suite stacked with antivirus, VPN, debugging and optimization utilities. It handles the basics of antivirus well, scans for vulnerable settings, and is relatively more affordable than the competition.

BullGuard’s Game Booster feature is a nice addition for gamers. When activated, it automatically detects and adds games to its index. This feature is enabled by default, but you can customize it for individual games. When a full screen game starts, a small Game Booster widget will appear, indicating the optimization status.

BullGuard Antivirus is a feature rich antivirus with a dedicated game booster utility. At $ 29.99 per year, you can use it on a single device with essential security features.

Additional features like secure browser, firewall, parental controls, built-in cloud backup, PC tune-up and home network analyzer are only available for internet security and protection plans Premium.

To download: BullGuard Antivirus ($ 29.99 / year for one device)

5. McAfee player safety

McAfee’s Gamer Security aims to end the debate between performance and security by offloading threat detection to its cloud server, greatly reducing the impact on your system resources. The necessary virus definitions are always kept locally on the system for offline protection.

The Game Boost engine detects when you are playing a game and interrupts unnecessary background processes to optimize your system resources for better gaming performance. With Application Manager, you can filter out uncontrollable processes and stop instantly.

McAfee also installs the WebAdvisor browser extension to help you browse in privacy by blocking trackers and phishing sites.

McAfee Gamer Security costs $ 59.99 and comes with a fully functional trial version. On the other hand, you have to enter your credit card details to take advantage of the free trial, which may not be ideal for many users.

To download: McAfee Gamer Security ($ 59.99 / year for a PC)

A gaming PC with antivirus is better than no antivirus

Microsoft offers its own out-of-the-box Windows security solution for the Windows operating system. However, a dedicated antivirus offers overall protection, better control, and performance-enhancing features.

All of the antiviruses listed in this article have minimal system impact and come with additional game-centric features. These tools detect when you are in a full screen game and prioritize resources and notifications accordingly. Use the free trial and test the security software before making a purchase.

We hope you like the items we recommend and discuss! MUO has affiliate and sponsored partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from some of your purchases. It won’t affect the price you pay and helps us provide the best product recommendations.


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