Some people believe that if an antivirus is a paid version, than it "must" be better just by virtue of "paid" . . . the reasoning being that paying money for something automatically makes it superior. My opinion is that this logic is flawed.
I have had both a retail antivirus (McAfee) and a FREE one (Avira's AntiVir), and was satisfied with both . . . though AntiVir consumed much less resources. I couldn't see much difference between the two, except one made my wallet a little lighter. As a matter of fact, if I was pressed to offer an opinion I would say that AntiVir was slightly superior to McAfee.
I think claims that a paid antivirus program is superior are mostly marketing ploys by the retail guys.
And those all-in-one suites, to me, are the height of marketing ploys, especially with the packaging that entices novices by essentially saying that this will do everything perfectly. Suites, as far as I'm concerned, do a little bit of everything, AND NOTHING PERFECTLY.
Standalones are dedicated to just one thing, and they do it better than suites. Very often, the code required to integrate a firewall component with a spyware component with an antivirus component, with a . . . whatever the claim is . . . dilutes ALL those components and even creates conflicts between them.
A free standalone antivirus, a free standalone firewall, and a free antispyware are fine just as long as they get along with each other.
I use AntiVir, Comodo, SuperAntispyware, Spybot S&D, and Adaware . . . and they all play nice with each other.
A good combo for one level of security. Of course I use a sandbox for another level of security. Multilayered security is the way to go.