AVG 8.0 includes all of the core elements you'd expect, including anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall and anti-spam.

Taking things up a notch, the suite now includes root-kit scanning, as well as instant messaging and Web surfing protection features. Is it enough to keep your PC protected?

Robust firewall

Our tests showed great performance on some fronts, excellent potential on others, and a little work still to be done here and there.

AVG's firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware components all work well, as they have done since version 7.5, while the anti-spam module is among the best to be found in any suite.

Threat detection is still excellent (scanning and real-time), and the robust firewall is great for beginners and experienced users alike.

Speedier scanning

While we were a little underwhelmed by the program's virus/spyware scanning times, it's in line with previous versions - acceptable, but certainly not awe-inspiring.

To its credit, the new root-kit scanning module is lightning-fast and the program is now capable of checking for updates at more frequent intervals to help keep your PC protected in a more timely fashion.

The update process itself is much less intrusive and annoying than in older versions - something that AVG 7 users will appreciate.

Website safety ratings

Perhaps the coolest new features of AVG 8.0 are its LinkScanner technologies: Search-Shield and Active Surf-Shield.

Search-Shield works with Google, Yahoo! and MSN to provide safety ratings next to all search results, helping you to avoid suspicious sites in a manner similar to McAfee's SiteAdvisor tool.

Unfortunately, it doesn't rate "sponsored" results, a common source of clicks to dangerous sites. Thankfully, Surf-Shield has you covered by prohibiting common infectious behaviour such as drive-by downloads.

This LinkScanner feature will be a big help to those wanting to surf with fewer worries, but as a newcomer it's too early to judge what its overall effectiveness will be. Regardless, it's definitely a step in the right direction.

A solid security package

The only real omission in this suite is the lack of privacy-related tools, such as those integrated into competing suites to block information such as your credit card number of other personal data from being transmitted online.

Price-wise, AVG Internet Security 8.0 is comparable with other security suites at £40 for one year of updates, and an even better deal when a two-year or multiple PC licence is purchased.

Overall, AVG Internet Security 8.0 represents a solid improvement over version 7.5. Existing AVG users will appreciate the streamlined interface and improved tool set, while new users will have little trouble getting the suite up and running with minimal hassle.

At the very least, AVG 8.0 is well worth taking for a test drive.