Q&A Bitdefender and RAM usage | Load test

SamBill

Level 1
May 29, 2020
17
Hi everyone, I've been active in this forum for quite a bit of time but this is the first time I'm posting something.

TLDR
I ran a memory load test in a VM to monitor how much memory BD uses under load, it turns out to be way lesser than what it uses during idle. It uses around 90-100MB under load.

Full explanation:
We have all known for a long time that Bitdefender is RAM heavy and there have been scenarios where it would consume more than 500MB. Even recently I saw someone having a memory issue in this forum with RAM usage in GBs (probably a worst case outlier scenario). I have personally tested this in VMs and local system (HDD and SSD) systems and I found that the memory consumption would settle around 250-300MB which I consider as a little too high as compared to some competitors (Avast, Kaspersky < 100MB). But almost all of the results from testing usually put the performance as great and say there is no impact, these results are further voiced by many of the users in this forum who find Bitdefender to be light enough and even BD themselves claim their protection does not impact PC performance and they are so proud of their Photon technology which they say adapts the program to the configuration of the computer. So I decided to put this to test, can it really adjust it's resource usage based on load ? Let's find out.

I created a VM, specs as follows :
OS : Windows 10 20H2 64 bit
Software : Removed Windows 10 bloatware (the pinned games, all the removable UWP apps) and no other software installed.
Browser : Edge with UBlock Origin
CPU : i7 8550U (2 cores for VM)
RAM : 4GB
Storage: 50 GB

Expectations:
Installed Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021 and updated it to the latest version, 25.0.19.75 and ran a complete system scan once. My work usually has multiple browsers open, each with multiple tabs and an IDE running a Node JS server and all these kind of push my host system's memory to 80-90% most of the times, but still the system would be responsive, that is the result that I'm looking forward to with the test in VM.

The test procedure :
1) Check the idle usage of BD after bootup.
2) Update BD to latest definitions.
3) Open 100 tabs in Microsoft Edge using TrackThis initiative from Mozilla.
4) Monitor the CPU and Memory usage of BD as the browser pushes the limit by consuming more than 2GB of memory.
5) Switch between tabs and couple of Windows Explorer tabs and see if system is responsive.
6) Open another Edge Window and download Eicar file to check how quickly BD responds to the threat under load.

I ran this load test twice and results are reproducible.

Results:
1) The idle usage of BD after bootup would be around 150-250MB when no other program is running.
2) When updating BD, the CPU, Memory and disk usage will experience a noticeable but a short spike, this can be more pronounced on HDD systems. In SSD, it is done without much impact.
3) Once the browser reaches 2-2.5GB of memory usage, BD drops its resource usage to the following levels
During Load :
Lowest recorded usage : 60MB
Highest recorded usage : 140MB
Average recorded usage : 90-100MB

After Load test:

Once browser is closed and memory is freed, BD stays around 110MB and slowly increases its memory usage to normal usage of 200-250MB, sometimes even lower around 150MB.

4) The system remains operational with slight delays when switching tabs, honestly that is expected for a system with 4GB memory and 100 tabs. BD's UI is accessible and responsive.
5) The Eicar download is blocked as expected without any delays.

You can take a look at the screenshots of the task manager. Load set 1 represents run #1 and Load set 2 represents run #2. The other idle screenshots are taken randomly after bootup of the system. The post load screenshot is taken few seconds after load test is done and memory is released.

Summary:
As they say, BD literally took the "free memory=wasted memory" idea and optimized their AV to use it when available and release it when other processes demand it. If you like BD but stayed away from it due to memory usage scare, I guess you can give it a try and as long as you don't feel the excessive RAM usage is affecting your work, it should be good to go. Also, I like BD's dark theme! I may do a full review of it when I get the time.

P.S : I'm not a fan of any particular AV, this is a test that I did out of curiosity. I'm currently running customized installation of avast! in my host system and it always uses less than 100MB of memory and does not have any spikes during updates, I like their way of streaming updates that are released continuously every 5-10 mins. However I have no personal bias with any AV, I have used Windows Defender with Hardening and KSCF, I keep changing once in a while when I feel like it! 😅

Feedback is appreciated.
 

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Last edited:

Paul.R

Level 17
Verified
May 16, 2013
823
As I said in the Norton Antivirus Topic: I prefer an antivirus that loads updates true RAM...better then using CPU that's why I prefer ESET, Kaspersky, F-Secure, Dr. Web...RAM is not an indicator of heavy software. It's all about management and for me RAM usage it's better for my battery on laptop then using CPU, I prefer 10 hours of usage then 5.(just a comparison )
 

SamBill

Level 1
May 29, 2020
17
As I said in the Norton Antivirus Topic: I prefer an antivirus that loads updates true RAM...better then using CPU that's why I prefer ESET, Kaspersky, F-Secure, Dr. Web...RAM is not an indicator of heavy software. It's all about management and for me RAM usage it's better for my battery on laptop then using CPU, I prefer 10 hours of usage then 5.(just a comparison )
Yeah, but one thing I'm unable to understand, if they are loading the signatures into memory then what happens to it as the memory usage is reduced, are they probably moving the signatures to Virtual Memory (to SSD) ? In that case that should take a little more time to get the signatures for detection right ?

Personally I like the approach Avast and Kaspersky have, at least according to my experiences they have never used this much amount of RAM and have similar CPU Usage but at the end of the day they all perform similar and offer similar level of protection.

So in which scenario this approach is better than those ?
 

Nightwalker

Level 22
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
May 26, 2014
1,177
Bitdefender seems to be one of the lightest if not the lightest antivirus in my machine, it really has a very low system impact in all areas (specially web browsing) with a very low CPU usage and personally I dont care much about RAM usage, so it has been a very pleasant experience.

Photon technology is just a fancy marketing name for its very efficient cache and whitelist system, but it really works.

Ps: My computer is somewhat powerful with a lot of RAM, a modern CPU and a fast SSD, so it could be different in other systems.
 

SeriousHoax

Level 38
Verified
Mar 16, 2019
2,753
An excellent, well done and much needed test. I really dislike when someone calls Bitdefender heavy only because of ram usage even though everything else remains light. All it does is what you said here.
As they say, BD literally took the "free memory=wasted memory" idea and optimized their AV to use it when available and release it when other processes demand it.
I have bookmarked this thread and will share it when someone says that BD is heavy only because of ram usage.
 

SamBill

Level 1
May 29, 2020
17
An excellent, well done and much needed test. I really dislike when someone calls Bitdefender heavy only because of ram usage even though everything else remains light. All it does is what you said here.

I have bookmarked this thread and will share it when someone says that BD is heavy only because of ram usage.
I agree! That's why I decided to test it myself. So many people here said, BD is good if you let it settle in, RAM usage doesn't matter, it goes down after sometime.

To be honest, I was skeptical towards BD and it's memory usage, just like many, I had the perception that is an heavy AV. Well the results have spoken for me. It performed admirably well! 😊 I'd recommend BD in the same lines of Kaspersky, Avast and ESET to people asking for an AV.

Only exception would be for the people with really old CPU and HDD, BD's updates are quite big and take a toll on old PC, happened to my old desktop that had HDD when I tested it last year.
 

The_King

Level 10
Verified
Aug 2, 2020
457
Modern hardware which contains multi-core and mulithreads combined with a SSD are not significantly slowed down by the most of the major of AV's.

Its usually users running old gen hardware that complain how much this AV has slowed their system down and majority of cases you will see a HDD being used
which also causes slow scan times because HDD have much slower read speeds compared to SSDs. Which creates a bottle neck for the entire system.
 

omidomi

Level 70
Verified
Trusted
Malware Hunter
Apr 5, 2014
5,952
Idk why BD work well in first days of use, may be BD is embarrassment boy :D
after days you may see many nasty bug (as I remember from BD 2010),when Your AV upgraded to newer Engine number your hard drive over load over 95%& FireFox crashed & freezed.
People talk about it, if you have a great & big ram why not BD use that? ,You may ask I buy a car & that car can carry 1 ton, it mean that I should fill that car(every time) because it can carry 1 ton?!:unsure:
 
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ZeePriest

Level 6
Jul 2, 2020
273
Idk why BD work well in first days of use, may be BD is embarrassment boy :D
after days you may see many nasty bug (as I remember from BD 2010),when Your AV upgraded to newer Engine number your hard drive over load over 95%& FireFox crashed & freezed.
People talk about it, if you have a great & big ram why not BD use that? ,You may ask I buy a car & that car can carry 1 ton, it mean that I should fill that car(every time) because it can carry 1 ton?!:unsure:
I'm a Kaspersky guy but after testing BD for several months I can't see any of the issues you have mentioned. It works flawlessly even on an HDD
 

SamBill

Level 1
May 29, 2020
17
Idk why BD work well in first days of use, may be BD is embarrassment boy :D
after days you may see many nasty bug (as I remember from BD 2010),when Your AV upgraded to newer Engine number your hard drive over load over 95%& FireFox crashed & freezed.
People talk about it, if you have a great & big ram why not BD use that? ,You may ask I buy a car & that car can carry 1 ton, it mean that I should fill that car(every time) because it can carry 1 ton?!:unsure:
Hmm, yeah I have seen some minor but long standing bugs such as the vulnerability scanner showing Windows Updates of size totaling 103GB but these are minor and major ones like memory leak, high CPU usage happens once in a while, BD needs to improve their QA.

Also for some reason, I went to uBlock.org (by mistake, I wanted uBlock Origin) it showed me a notification saying suspicious connection blocked after I clicked on get addon, it was a redirect to Chrome Web Store listing of the addon. Here is the screenshot for it. Can someone running BD try it ?
 

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Nightwalker

Level 22
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
May 26, 2014
1,177
Hmm, yeah I have seen some minor but long standing bugs such as the vulnerability scanner showing Windows Updates of size totaling 103GB but these are minor and major ones like memory leak, high CPU usage happens once in a while, BD needs to improve their QA.

Also for some reason, I went to uBlock.org (by mistake, I wanted uBlock Origin) it showed me a notification saying suspicious connection blocked after I clicked on get addon, it was a redirect to Chrome Web Store listing of the addon. Here is the screenshot for it. Can someone running BD try it ?

I tried to visit uBlock.org and it was blocked by ControlD DNS service, but I can see why Bitdefender blocked it.
 

omidomi

Level 70
Verified
Trusted
Malware Hunter
Apr 5, 2014
5,952
Hmm, yeah I have seen some minor but long standing bugs such as the vulnerability scanner showing Windows Updates of size totaling 103GB but these are minor and major ones like memory leak, high CPU usage happens once in a while, BD needs to improve their QA.

Also for some reason, I went to uBlock.org (by mistake, I wanted uBlock Origin) it showed me a notification saying suspicious connection blocked after I clicked on get addon, it was a redirect to Chrome Web Store listing of the addon. Here is the screenshot for it. Can someone running BD try it ?
some minor bug cause big bug, in last years they have conflict with BluStack also....:cry:
 

SamBill

Level 1
May 29, 2020
17
some minor bug cause big bug, in last years they have conflict with BluStack also....:cry:
Yeah it is annoying when an AV breaks your workflow. I haven't stayed long enough with BD to experience these, couple of years ago I was using McAfee for few months and it was doing something in the background always leading to my laptop getting extremely hot. I just uninstalled using their uninstall utility (to be sure that nothing remains) and replaced it with KIS, phew it was cool.

At this point, I'm sure that any product can break at times, even WD. For the longest I have not experienced any of these issues with Kaspersky and Avast. They have been the least annoying/breaking AVs I have used, again everyone's mileage may vary based on use case and system configuration.
 

mlnevese

Level 24
Verified
May 3, 2015
1,392
It's always nice to see simple proof that RAM usage does not make a product heavy. It's system impact that matters. If it's not slowing down the system and file/network access, then it's not heavy.

BD is not the only product I see being bashed for using RAM.
 

rain2reign

Level 6
Jun 21, 2020
281
The way RAM is utilized was initially one of the primary reasons I went with Emsisoft around 5 years ago. From which, if I remember it right, was one of the very few that did it that way at that point in time. No negative system impact on any of my systems, and easily turned off with a flick of a switch. Lightning fast scans, since the
av-definitions are already pre-loaded into the RAM.

Though it's a shame that many still consider any usage of RAM outside of gaming, rendering or computing as a bad thing... However, it's very nice to see RAM actually being utilized for a change in more AV programs. :)

Edit: Current total usage of the AV + definitions with browser and some programs open.
1621124223290.png
 

Islam Gamal

Level 3
Jan 25, 2018
144
The way RAM is utilized was initially one of the primary reasons I went with Emsisoft around 5 years ago. From which, if I remember it right, was one of the very few that did it that way at that point in time. No negative system impact on any of my systems, and easily turned off with a flick of a switch. Lightning fast scans, since the
av-definitions are already pre-loaded into the RAM.

Though it's a shame that many still consider any usage of RAM outside of gaming, rendering or computing as a bad thing... However, it's very nice to see RAM actually being utilized for a change in more AV programs. :)

Edit: Current total usage of the AV + definitions with browser and some programs open.
View attachment 258075
I have Emsisoft on my system for 2 months now and i never felt this level of lightness in any other AV. It is clean, light, easy to use. I really like it so much.
 
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