The Best Antivirus for Gaming PCs – Top 10 Picks for Gaming Antiviruses

The best antivirus for a gaming PC needs to protect you not only from viruses and malware but also from email scams, phishing attempts, cyber threats on multiplayer servers, DDoS attacks, doxxing, keyloggers, and more. And it has to accomplish all this without slowing down your PC or impacting your games’ performance.

In this article, we’ve reviewed the top 10 antivirus solutions for gaming PCs, looking at their pros and cons, pricing, usability, and performance impact, as well as their game-specific features to help you choose the best antivirus for gaming PC owners.

The Best Antivirus Software for Gaming PCs in 2023

Before we get to our individual reviews, here’s a quick breakdown of the best antivirus software for a gaming PC:

  1. TotalAV — Overall, the best gaming PC antivirus in 2023, with minimal performance impact, excellent real-time protection, a built-in VPN, and a free ad blocker.
  2. SurfShark — Lightweight antivirus for a gaming PC that doesn’t hog your resources and offers excellent real-time protection against zero-day threats.
  3. CyberGhost — A leading VPN and a solid antivirus in one package for superb real-time protection, full control over your privacy, and complete online anonymity.
  4. Norton — A robust antivirus for a gaming PC with a 100% malware detection rate, a built-in game optimizer, and real-time Dark Web monitoring for your personal info and gaming tags and accounts.
  5. Nord Threat Protection — A privacy-focused antivirus with a built-in tracker and ad blocker, provided in combination with a super-fast, reliable VPN.
  6. TrendMicro — Total protection against malware, ransomware, phishing, and online scams, with the addition of Micro Pay Guard to secure your online payment information.
  7. ESET — A strong antivirus with a dedicated gamer mode and advanced account, password, and payment protection for both online and in-game purchases.
  8. Intego — The best antivirus for gaming on macOS, with multiple security layers to ensure you’re protected from online threats, malicious websites and email links, and malware that may be on other iOS devices.
  9. Avast — The best free antivirus for a gaming PC, with top scores on lab tests across usability, protection, and performance.
  10. Avira — A decent antivirus with a free-forever plan, with a range of features gamers will benefit from on paid plans.

Do I Need an Antivirus for My Gaming PC?

Yes, you absolutely need an antivirus for any PC that’s connected to the internet. Whether you’re torrenting games, movies, and shows, playing on multiplayer servers, or simply browsing the web and reading emails, your gaming PC is an easy target for hackers and cybercriminals if you don’t have sufficient protection.

One click on the wrong link and you can unknowingly download a keylogger to your device, which can be the doorway for hackers to access your Steam account, for example, with hundreds of dollars worth of games and items.

Malware and viruses can also mess with your system, so your save files can be corrupted, and you’ll have to spend time rebooting your system and redownloading your games.

Most importantly, cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities to get access to your payment information, draining funds from the credit cards you’ve used to make online purchases.

That’s why it’s vital to ensure your gaming PC is protected by a strong antivirus. As long as the antivirus solution doesn’t interfere with your gameplay, it’s always a good idea to have this layer of protection in place at all times.

What Features Do Good Antiviruses for Gaming PCs Offer?

In addition to the level of protection each antivirus solution will provide, the main point you should be concerned about is how much the software will impact your PC’s performance.

An antivirus will take up a portion of your PC’s resources, from its RAM (Random Access Memory) and processing power to continuously protect you from threats. Depending on how powerful your machine is, it may or may not cause lag.

That’s why your best option is an antivirus with a Game Mode, stopping it from running full scans and deprioritizing resource allocation to ensure games run smoothly while the antivirus runs in the background.

Here’s a breakdown of the key features you need to consider before making your choice:

  • Gaming performance optimization — The best antivirus solutions for gaming come with built-in performance optimization and game boosters. These ensure the antivirus doesn’t hog your CPU and may even lead to better performance.
  • Real-time threat protection — You want to stay protected from threats while gaming, whether they’re dubious links in a Discord server, viruses embedded in downloads, network attacks, or any other type of malware.
  • Firewall — A strong firewall will alert you whenever you’re attempting to download a file that might contain harmful code. Some antivirus solutions even offer a Sandbox mode, where files are scanned against a library of known threats before they reach your gaming PC.
  • Whitelisting — If you’re alt-tabbing and playing music on YouTube or browsing the web between games, it’s a good idea to whitelist the sites you trust so the antivirus doesn’t need to actively scan them each time you access them.
  • Malware detection rates — When it comes to antiviruses, the only acceptable malware detection rate is near 100%. You want to be absolutely sure that the antivirus you opt for can detect, quarantine, and remove any unwanted files that may already be on your PC.

The Top Gaming Antiviruses in 2023 Reviewed

Here are our in-depth reviews of the leading PC gaming antivirus solutions in 2023:

1. TotalAV — Overall, the Best Gaming PC Antivirus in 2023

TotalAV is an award-winning, feature-rich antivirus for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. It offers superb protection against malware and online threats, blocks annoying ads, safeguards your passwords, and protects your identity while browsing the web, thanks to a built-in VPN (Virtual Private Network).

While TotalAV doesn’t have a dedicated Gaming Mode, it does have a Silent Mode that prevents notifications from popping up while you’re gaming in full screen. More importantly, it doesn’t significantly affect performance, so you can expect games to be pretty much unaffected, even with TotalAV working in the background.

TotalAV Smart Scan Results

Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Devices supported Free Trial Money-Back Guarantee
$2.41/month (annual) for first year – 100% malware protection
– No false blocks
– Over 97% protection for zero-day attacks
3 No 30 days (annual subscriptions), 14 days (monthly subscriptions)

With TotalAV, you’ll enjoy complete real-time protection both when gaming and when downloading files from the web. The antivirus checks all downloads, installs, and .exe files for threats and swiftly eliminates them before they get a chance to interact with your PC.

The TotalAV package also includes a WebShield, which blocks all manner of online threats, so you won’t have to be afraid of dodgy multiplayer servers, dubious links, phishing attempts, and other cyber threats.

If you want to prevent your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and advertising companies from tracking your online activity, you can also utilize a VPN to browse the web anonymously and hide your physical location.

The VPN might also be useful for accessing geo-restricted servers since you can mask your address and make it look like you’re accessing the server from another country.

Another security add-on worth mentioning is Total Password, which stores all your logins in a secure, encrypted vault, so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting a password for any of your gaming accounts or having them hacked.

If there’s one drawback to the product, it’s that it’ll only protect three devices at a time on the basic plan – though this is more than Norton, TrendMicro, and Intego.


The full TotalAV suite includes a dozen security add-ons, so the subscription price can vary greatly depending on which add-ons you opt for. The Internet Security package is by far the highest-value option, given the fact that it includes the antivirus, the VPN, and a free ad blocker.

Another thing worth noting is if you opt for the Internet Security package, you can get it for just $29 for the first year, meaning you’ll save $90 in the first year of your subscription.


  • Silent Mode blocks notifications while in full-screen
  • Schedule Smart Scans when you’re not gaming
  • Built-in ad-blocker and VPN
  • Excellent test results with minimal impact on performance
  • Great value for money, with a $120+ discount for the first year


  • Protects a maximum of six devices, with three on the basic plan

2. SurfShark — Lightweight Antivirus for a Gaming PC With Excellent Protection Against Zero-Day Threats

SurfShark is a super lightweight antivirus solution that works silently in the background while you’re gaming, keeping you fully protected against viruses and zero-day threats without hogging your PC’s resources.

What’s unique about SurfShark is that the antivirus features a Cloud Protect system, which scans all unknown files in an isolated environment, ensuring all threats are identified and eliminated before they can reach your system and cause damage.


Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Devices supported Free Trial Money-Back Guarantee
$2.73/month No lab tests available Unlimited No 30 days

SurfShark offers advanced protection against cyber threats, but it’s incredibly easy to set up and use. You won’t be overwhelmed with dozens of different tabs, settings, and configurations. Instead, you’ll be fully protected from the moment you install the antivirus software and will be able to easily schedule smart scans with just two clicks.

Another point in SurfShark’s favor over other antivirus solutions on the market is that its database of malicious code is updated regularly, ensuring you’re safe against even the newest malware and viruses.

SurfShark also hides your IP and physical location with its VPN – which is far more capable than Norton’s offering – so you’ll be safe from tracking, and it lets you browse the web without annoying ads or tracking cookies, provided you opt for the SurfShark Safe Search as part of your subscription package.

With all the security layers in place, you’ll be fully protected against attacks on your network and PC, but that still doesn’t mean hackers can never get your information.

In case an online service or a gaming platform, like, is hacked and your account information is leaked, Surfshark will notify you of a data breach so you’ll have a chance to update your information and prevent unauthorized access.


SurfShark offers three different pricing plans and three levels of commitment – monthly, annual, and 24-month plans. The monthly plans start at $17.95/month and are by far the most expensive option, so we recommend an annual ($4.09/month) or two-year plan ($2.73/month).

You can’t opt for the antivirus alone, which is a limited drawback, but will instead have to purchase SurfShark One to get access to 24/7 antivirus protection alongside a VPN, an ad blocker, and a private search engine. Considering the small increase in price, we’d say this is a pretty sweet deal.


  • Can be used on an unlimited number of devices
  • Doesn’t hog your gaming PC’s resources
  • Proactive scanning and elimination of zero-day threats
  • Excellent VPN and tracking prevention
  • Real-time notifications of data breaches


  • Can’t purchase the antivirus as a standalone product

3. CyberGhost — Leading VPN and a Solid Antivirus in One Package

CyberGhost offers a full security suite for Windows gaming PCs, which includes their award-winning VPN, anti-malware and antivirus software, Privacy Guard, and a secure software updater.

The antivirus is a result of a partnership between CyberGhost and Intego. This collaboration provides you with protection against malware, viruses, trojans, and other cyber threats built into your VPN app.


Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Devices supported Free Trial Money-Back Guarantee
$3.11/month No lab tests available 6 24 hours 14 days (monthly subscriptions), 30 days (all others)

CyberGhost offers you full online anonymity, protection from tracking, phishing, and ransomware, and an ironclad shield against all forms of cyber threats.

On top of that, it actively scans your PC for outdated, vulnerable versions of software you’ve installed and suggests updates so you can eliminate possible entry points for cybercriminals.

What’s lacking is any kind of Gaming Mode or performance optimization features, so if you’re mostly concerned about the impact the antivirus might have on your performance, TotalAV is likely a better option, especially if your gaming setup is a bit older.

That said, if you have a powerful gaming rig and won’t feel the performance impact of running a VPN and an antivirus, CyberGhost is an excellent option for protecting your privacy. It features a Privacy Guard feature that gives you full control over the information you share, ensuring privacy and online anonymity.


The antivirus is built into the VPN app, so you’ll have to get both if you want to ensure your gaming PC is fully protected. The subscriptions start from $2.11/month on a two-year commitment, plus an additional $1/month for the security suite.

That’s still a pretty good deal for one of the top-rated VPNs on the market, so we definitely recommend CyberGhost to gamers who value their privacy.


  • Superb real-time protection
  • Full control over your privacy
  • Complete online anonymity
  • Great value for money
  • One of the leading VPNs on the market


  • No standalone antivirus

4. Norton — The Most Robust Antivirus for a Gaming PC With a 100% Malware Detection Rate

Norton is one of the more expensive options on the market, but it’s also the one that offers the highest level of protection, alongside a Game Optimizer that ensures you get the best performance while staying 100% safe from cyber threats.

If you opt for the Norton 360 security suite, in addition to the antivirus and the Game Optimizer, you’ll also get a secure VPN that protects you from tracking, DDoS attacks, and doxxing, as well as free 2 GB of cloud backup for your files, a secure password manager, and real-time Dark Web monitoring.


Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Devices supported Free Trial Money-Back Guarantee
$1.67/month (annual) for first year – 100% zero-day malware protection
– 100% malware and virus detection rate
– Almost no performance impact
1 30 days 60 days

The antivirus has been around for over 25 years and is one of the best on the market, as is evident by both user reviews and stellar lab test scores, so we won’t spend too much time talking about it. All you need to know is that you’ll be fully protected against online attacks, tracking, and hacking attempts.

What’s far more interesting to gamers is the Game Optimizer – Norton GO. It essentially functions as a dedicated Norton gamer mode that auto-detects the games you’re playing and prioritizes resource allocation in their favor, based on the level of computing power and RAM required to run them smoothly.

This drastically reduces the strain on your PC’s resources by shutting down background programs that are draining your power, thus ensuring a lag-free experience and helping you get higher FPS and more stable performance.

The Dark Web monitoring feature is a big reason to opt for Norton for gaming over its competitors. While other solutions, such as Surfshark, can notify you of any data breaches involving your personal information, such as emails, credit cards, and accounts, Norton also scans the dark web for your gamer tags and usernames.

This means you’ll know the moment someone gains access to any of your gaming accounts and will be able to request a password change or contact the platform – Steam, for example – to notify them of the breach and get your accounts back.


If you end up going with Norton, we recommend the Norton 360 package. While it is twice as expensive as the antivirus alone, you’ll be able to use the same license on three different devices, plus you get access to a capable VPN and real-time Dark Web monitoring.


  • 100% malware detection and protection rate
  • Protection from DDoS attacks and doxxing
  • Dark Web monitoring for personal info and gamer tags
  • Game Optimizer for the best performance your PC allows for
  • Free cloud backup and password manager


  • Expensive, especially for single-device subscription

5. Nord Threat Protection — Privacy-Focused Antivirus With a Built-In Tracker and Ad Blocker

Nord Threat Protection is an add-on to the world-famous NordVPN, which elevates your online security and keeps you protected from malware, trackers, and intrusive ads.

Although it is a combo deal with NordVPN, meaning you’d have to purchase both, the antivirus works even when you’re not connected to a VPN. This means you won’t have to play multiplayer online games while connected through a VPN server, so your connection won’t slow down, but you’ll still enjoy superb protection against cyber threats.


Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Devices supported Free Trial Money-Back Guarantee
$2.99/month (two years) No lab tests available 6 30 days 30 days

When it comes to malware detection, Nord Threat Protection is similar to SurfShark in that all downloads are scanned in a sandbox environment, and threats are removed before they can interact with your system.

The advantage of Nord is that it also blocks malicious websites, so you won’t ever have to fear a dubious link that might attempt to get you to click on a link on a shady website.

As a VPN and antivirus package, Nord Threat Protection also gives you complete privacy and anonymity, given that it hides your IP address, blocks any and all tracking attempts, and completely prevents third parties from analyzing your online activity.

Another great aspect of Nord is that it provides you with weekly reports of all the threats you avoided. This helps you see just how much safer you are with an antivirus but also gives you insight into what websites you should avoid in the future.

The one downside of Nord is that it doesn’t offer a gaming mode, and it has been reported to occasionally hog your PC’s resources – specifically the CPU usage. This might result in slower loading times and lag, especially if you’re playing CPU-intensive games.


If you opt for the Standard package, which includes the VPN, the antivirus, and the ad blocker, you’ll have to set aside $2.99/month on a two-year plan, which is a pretty good deal. That said, you can add a cross-platform password manager and a data breach scanner for another $1/month, which we highly recommend.


  • World-class VPN and a solid antivirus in one app
  • Threats are scanned and removed before they can reach your system
  • Protection from online trackers and intrusive ads
  • Complete online privacy


  • No gaming mode
  • High CPU usage

6. TrendMicro — Total Protection Against Malware, Ransomware, Phishing, and Online Scams

TrendMicro is a simple, easy-to-use antivirus that provides several extra levels of security compared to most other entries on our list.

Most notably, it protects you against phishing attempts and ransomware attacks, safeguards you against internet and email scams, and ensures your payment information is safe from hackers, thanks to Micro Pay Guard.

TrendMicro - Best Computer Malware Protection

Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Devices supported Free Trial Money-Back Guarantee
$1.66/month (annual) – 100% protection for zero-day attacks
– 100% malware detection rates
– Industry average performance impact
1 30 days 30 days

The antivirus is based on an advanced AI learning algorithm, and it’s constantly updated on new cyber threats. As a result, it offers 100% protection against zero-day threats and can detect any virus or malicious software already installed on your machine.

If you opt for one of the more expensive subscription plans, you’ll also enjoy advanced parental controls on top of real-time threat protection. This is a great option for gamers who are also parents and want to make sure their child is completely safe on the internet and doesn’t interact with inappropriate or potentially dangerous content.

With the Maximum Security plan, you can also protect your mobile devices, which is crucial if you’re using your phone to check emails, log into Steam,, or any of your other gaming accounts, or to make online purchases.

The one functionality that’s lacking is a built-in VPN, so Trend Micro doesn’t offer the same level of privacy as other solutions like TotalAV, SurfShark, and Nord.


TrendMicro’s basic plan is limited to protecting a single device, which might suffice if you’re only interested in protecting your PC. What’s great is that even the cheapest plan includes the Micro Pay Guard functionality, so you’ll be able to safely shop online without fear of getting your payment information stolen.


  • Clean, simple, and easy to use
  • Offers ransomware, phishing, and online scam protection
  • Impeccable results on lab tests with a 100% malware detection rate
  • Advanced parental controls
  • Pay Guard for risk-free online shopping


  • No gaming mode
  • No built-in VPN

7. ESET — Strong Antivirus With an Automatic Gamer Mode and Advanced Password and Payment Protection

ESET is a great antivirus for gaming, given that it offers a dedicated Gamer mode, which disables pop-ups and notifications, delays auto-updates and schedule tasks, and decreases CPU usage so you can play and stream without interruptions.

The best part about it is the fact that the Gamer mode automatically activates as soon as you start a game on your PC, so you don’t even have to worry about forgetting to manually turn it on before your gaming sessions.


Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Devices supported Free Trial Money-Back Guarantee
$3.33/month (annual) No lab tests available 1 30 days 30 days

The antivirus itself is excellent, offering multi-layered protection against malware and ransomware based on machine learning. It also features cloud scanning, which is similar to SurfShark’s and Nord’s Sandbox mode in that it identifies and eliminates threats in a contained environment.

Another major advantage of ESET over standard antivirus solutions is that it encrypts all your gaming accounts and passwords, making them bulletproof against hacking.

Even if cybercriminals somehow get their hands on your passwords – if an online gaming service gets breached, for example – they still won’t be able to decrypt your logins and access your accounts, so you’re fully protected.

ESET also offers safe online banking and payments within games, so you can buy battlepasses, subscriptions, loot boxes, and other in-game items and currency without fear of having your payment information compromised.


ESET offers multiple subscription tiers, all of which include the Gamer mode. That said, we recommend the Premium Security suite for gamers since it also includes an unbreakable password vault, file encryption, and identity and privacy protection.

Keep in mind you can always download the antivirus for free and start your 30-day free trial before committing to an annual subscription.


  • Strong antivirus with cloud threat scanning and removal
  • Dedicated Gamer mode that automatically turns on when you game
  • Minimum impact on gaming performance
  • Encrypts all your passwords and gaming accounts
  • Protects your payment information for online and in-game purchases


  • Expensive for protecting multiple devices

8. Intego — Best Antivirus for Gaming on macOS

Intego is one of the best antivirus solutions for macOS, so it’s a great option for people gaming on their Mac laptops. While most antivirus solutions are geared toward Windows PCs, Intego was developed by Mac security experts to eliminate Mac-specific malware and keep your device safe.

That’s not to say that Intego can’t be used on Windows as well. In fact, the Windows version of the antivirus software is just as powerful, offering an online shield, zero-day threat protection, complete network security, and financial information protection.


Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Devices supported Free Trial Money-Back Guarantee
$3.33/month (annual) No lab tests available 1 30 days 30 days

Intego scans all files whenever they are accessed to ensure that your device is protected against malicious software.

This isn’t quite as good as scanning them on the cloud or in a sandbox environment, but detecting and eliminating potentially harmful programs before they get a chance to “grow roots” in your system is still sufficient.

In addition to the Virus Block, Intego keeps you safe from malicious files and links received by email, both on Mac and other iOS devices. This stops your iPhone or iPad infecting your laptop when you connect them and helps eliminate threats from your other iOS devices.

Paid plans also include handy features like the Mac Washing Machine, which functions as a file shredder and removes unnecessary and duplicate files, and ContentBarrier, which gives you access to advanced parental controls if you want to ensure your child can’t access any content that’s inappropriate for their age.


Intego offers three subscription options, all of which require an annual commitment. If you don’t need personal backups and are diligent when it comes to removing old games and unwanted programs, the basic plan will be more than enough to stay fully protected while gaming on your macOS device.


  • Excellent network security and ironclad financial protection
  • Blocks malicious files and links received via email
  • Scans your other iOS devices for malware when plugged into your laptop
  • Features a file shredder that removes unnecessary and duplicate files
  • The best macOS antivirus


  • No gaming mode or performance-improvement features

9. Avast — Best Free Antivirus for a Gaming PC

Avast is the best free gaming antivirus, offering complete real-time protection against malware, viruses, and other cyber threats and an additional layer of ransomware security.

You also get WiFi scanning to detect any network vulnerabilities, which isn’t relevant for PC gamers but is a good add-on if you plan to install the free antivirus on your phone as well.

In addition to being free, Avast has top scores on lab tests across all three categories – protection, performance, and usability. In other words, it will detect and protect you from virtually any type of cyber threat without slowing down your PC – so you can game without worry.

Avast Freemium

Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Devices supported Free Trial Money-Back Guarantee
$4.19/month (annual) – Top scores across all categories
– Minimal impact on performance
– Zero false reports
10 Free-forever plan 30 days

While the free plan offers sufficient malware protection while gaming, you might want to consider upgrading to one of the premium plans down the line for additional features.

These include payment protection, which is crucial if you’re buying in-game items, an advanced firewall to protect all your files, and automatic app updates to minimize security risks.

Another thing worth considering is that you can only run the free version of the antivirus on a single PC with one Avast account, whereas the paid versions let you protect up to ten different devices.

Finally, if you also want complete privacy, you can get the Avast VPN with the most expensive subscription package, alongside the Avast AntiTrack and Avast Cleanup, which removes junk files and speeds up your PC.

Overall, Avast is a great antivirus, and although it doesn’t offer any gaming-specific modes like Norton and Estet, it’s still the best option if you’re strapped for cash and are looking for free antivirus software to protect your gaming PC.


While Avast’s free plan is excellent, its premium plans are a bit more expensive than other solutions on the market. However, you can protect up to ten devices with a premium plan, so it’s worth the money if you want a strong antivirus for all your devices.


  • Free-forever plan
  • Top scores on lab tests across all categories
  • Scans your WiFi network connections for vulnerabilities
  • Provides an extra layer of security against ransomware


  • Expensive premium plans

10. Avira — Decent Antivirus with a Free-Forever Plan

Avira is another antivirus with a free version available for download. With the free Avira antivirus, you’ll enjoy complete real-time threat protection and won’t have to worry about annoying and potentially malicious ads, pop-ups, and banners on websites.

That said, most of the key features gamers will benefit from are only available with the paid plans, so we strongly recommend choosing the Internet Security package or the comprehensive Avira Prime suite to ensure complete security and enhance your PC’s performance.


Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Devices supported Free Trial Money-Back Guarantee
 $2.92/month (annual) – 100% malware detection rates
– 98.8% protection from zero-day attacks
– Industry average performance impact
1 Free-forever plan 60 days

With the paid plans, you’ll be able to safely make online and in-game purchases since Avira will encrypt and protect all your payment information. Additionally, the antivirus will automatically block malicious websites and safeguard you against phishing attempts.

You’ll also benefit from a password manager, so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting your account names and passwords for various games and services, plus your logins will be fully protected against hackers.

The paid versions of the software also come with an automatic software and driver updater, so you’ll always have the latest version of all programs and drivers, ensuring that your PC performs optimally.

Lastly, you’ll also be able to utilize the Gamer Mode, which blocks all pop-ups and notifications and delays any updates, so you can play without any interruptions.


Avira offers a great free-forever plan, but it’s not the best option for gamers since all the crucial gaming features are only available with the Avira Internet Security and Avira Prime plans.

These start from $34.99/year and $59.99/year, respectively, which is reasonable considering the level of protection you’ll enjoy.


  • Free-forever plan
  • Can be installed on up to 50 devices
  • Dedicated Gamer Mode
  • Anonymous web browsing
  • Payment info protection


  • Free plan lacks key gaming features
  • No Dark Web monitoring

The Best Gaming PC Antiviruses Compared

Here’s a quick reference table so you can see how the different antivirus solutions we’ve reviewed compare.

Whether you’re considering McAfee’s gamer security, the Bitdefender gaming mode, or the best antivirus for gaming PCs, according to Reddit, this table will help narrow down your options for the best gaming antivirus for PC.

Antivirus Starting Price Antivirus Testing Results Devices supported Free Trial Money-Back Guarantee
TotalAV $2.41/month (annual) for first year – 100% malware protection
– No false blocks
– Over 97% protection for zero-day attacks
3 No 30 days (annual subscriptions), 14 days (monthly subscriptions)
SurfShark $2.73/month No lab tests available Unlimited No 30 days
CyberGhost $3.11/month No lab tests available 6 24 hours 14 days (monthly subscriptions), 30 days (all others)
Norton $1.67/month (annual) for first year – 100% zero-day malware protection
– 100% malware and virus detection rate
– Almost no performance impact
1 30 days 60 days
Nord Threat Protection $2.99/month (two years) No lab tests available 6 30 days 30 days
TrendMicro $1.66/month (annual) – 100% protection for zero-day attacks
– 100% malware detection rates
– Industry average performance impact
1 30 days 30 days
ESET $3.33/month (annual) No lab tests available 1 30 days 30 days
Intego $3.33/month (annual) No lab tests available 1 30 days 30 days
Avast $4.19/month (annual) – Top scores across all categories
– Minimal impact on performance
– Zero false reports
10 Free-forever plan 30 days
Avira $2.92/month (annual) – 100% malware detection rates
– 98.8% protection from zero-day attacks
– Industry average performance impact
1 Free-forever plan 60 days

What’s the Best Free Antivirus for a Gaming PC?

Avast is the best free antivirus on our list. It has top scores in lab tests and offers 100% malware protection even with its free-forever plan. On top of that, you get an extra layer of protection against ransomware, and the free antivirus can also scan your WiFi network connection for vulnerabilities.

That said, you’re still much better off with a paid plan. The main reason is that free plans often lack core features gamers will want.

Even with Avast, which is the best free option on the market, you’ll be missing out on payment protection, a firewall, an app updater, a VPN, and a dedicated Gaming Mode.

With that in mind, we recommend investing in a paid antivirus subscription with a provider like TotalAV or SurfShark to ensure complete protection of your device without hogging your PC’s resources and negatively impacting your PC’s gaming performance.

How We Tested the Best Gaming Antivirus

The lab test results we’ve provided in this guide come from the tests conducted by AV-Comparatives, an independent IT security institute that specializes in testing antiviruses and other IT security solutions.

In addition to the results from these in-depth tests, we performed our own testing on all ten antivirus solutions, comparing their usability, level of protection, features, pricing, and impact on gaming performance.

Here’s a breakdown of the key parameters we tested for when looking for the best antivirus for a gaming PC:


When it comes to usability, you want an antivirus that you can just install and run without having to fiddle with a dozen options.

A good antivirus for a gaming PC should offer you the option to turn individual settings like VPN and real-time protection on and off and should automatically turn on the Gaming Mode whenever you fire up any of your games.

Level of Protection

The level of protection is key since you want to ensure that you’re protected from all kinds of cyber threats, not just malware and viruses.

The best virus protection for a gaming PC should also include a strong firewall, payment protection, a secure password vault, webcam protection, a world-class VPN, and protection against phishing, DDoS, and doxxing.

Game-Specific Features

At the very least, an antivirus should offer a Silent Mode or a Gaming Mode. This helps ensure that your gaming sessions go without any interruptions, so you can focus on the game instead of having to deal with annoying pop-ups and notifications.

That said, the best gaming PC antivirus should also offer game optimization features, automatic software updates, and PC cleanup. All these combined ensure that the bulk of your PC’s resources are utilized by the game itself, resulting in better overall performance.

For other use cases, check out our guide to the best server antiviruses.

Impact on Gaming Performance

To have an antivirus actively running in the background and protecting you against cyber threats around the clock, you have to dedicate resources to it.

While in Silent or Gaming mode, a good antivirus shouldn’t hog too much of your RAM or CPU usage, but you might feel an impact if you have an older PC with a five-year-old CPU and 8 Gb of RAM or less.

On newer, more powerful rigs, you’ll hardly feel the presence of the antivirus. Nevertheless, the best gaming PC antivirus shouldn’t use more than 200 Mb of RAM and only a few percent of your CPU’s power.

If CPU usage is a concern or if you have low RAM, we strongly recommend an antivirus with game optimizer features and a dedicated Gaming Mode.


When it comes to pricing, the subscriptions for leading antivirus solutions typically vary by less than $10/month. That said, what’s far more important than the price tags are the gaming-specific features and the level of protection available on different pricing plans.

So, when comparing different options, make sure you’re comparing them based on the value you’re getting for your money rather than just the price tags alone.

Top Antivirus Guides and Resources

If you want to learn more about the leading antivirus software solutions on the market, feel free to check out our other antivirus guides and resources below:

Conclusion – Which is the Best Antivirus for Gaming PCs in 2023?

There are dozens of great antivirus solutions on the market, but not all of them are a good choice for a gaming PC.

In addition to gaming-specific features, you should also take into consideration the level of protection you get with a particular antivirus solution and compare that to the level of impact the antivirus software will have on your PC’s performance.

Ideally, you want to strike a perfect balance between protection and performance. That’s why we recommend TotalAV as our choice of the best gaming PC antivirus.

It features a Silent Mode that enables you to game without any distractions, boasts near-perfect scores on lab test results, comes with a built-in VPN to ensure online anonymity, protects your passwords and gaming accounts, and has minimal impact on gaming performance.

Click the button below to test out TotalAV in practice, risk-free for up to 30 days, and see first-hand why it’s our #1 choice for an antivirus for a gaming PC.

Antivirus for Gaming FAQs

Will an antivirus affect my gaming?

What is the best antivirus for a Windows 10 gaming PC?

Is Windows Defender enough for gaming?

Does running an antivirus reduce FPS?

Do I need to keep an antivirus on while gaming?


Aleksandar Stevanovic

Alex is a Senior Software Content Writer at Techopedia. He focuses on creating reader-oriented comparison pages, reviews, research pieces, and editorials. With nearly a decade of experience, he’s written for numerous leading brands across various niches, such as The Tech Report,, CEX.IO, Forbes, Business2Community, and many more. His expertise in cybersecurity has made him a popular authority on privacy tools such as VPNs, password managers, blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and antivirus software. You'll find Alex working on cars, playing guitar, and cooking fantastic food in his spare time. You can reach Alex on Twitter: @stevanovic_alex