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Looking for a new anti-virus software

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A lot depends on the user. If the user 'behaves' then Microsoft Security Essentials works well...I use that on lots of PCs and have had good luck with it. Works without breaking, and uses little processing power.

If the user is, to be polite, not so well behaved, then you need the whole big security suite.

The major difference is that a 'suite' typically will have a personal firewall. This is critical to catch the occasional virus or malware that is undetected by a a signature-based scanner. Windows firewall does not block outgoing traffic, but a a third-party personal firewall product when a virus tries to 'phone-home' the personal firewall should alert you.

Suites tend to have all sorts of other features, such as anti-phishing, anti-malware...some even do content filtering.