... I've found regardless of what they have had installed they invariably get infected, may as well go with the AV system that doesn't choke the system to death nor constantly shove itself in your face while you're trying to get work done.
Exactly! This is precisely my thinking. And it's also what I tell my clients. I use MSE on all my (four and counting) systems, and I strip off whatever "choke-ware" my clients are running and install it for them.
Plus, I also strongly recommend Sandboxie, which is free for non-commercial use, and if they agree, I provide a prominent icon which runs the browser inside a sandbox, for those times when curiosity gets the better of them.
My own machines have been kept safe by using this approach more than once from stuff my teenaged kids clicked on, where Sandboxie prevented something bad from actually installing itself (after which I deleted the sandbox contents and it was as if nothing had ever happened). More than worth the annoyance of the occasional 5 second pop up reminder from Sandboxie when it starts, once the initial 30 days has elapsed.
For trusted browsing, I just use the unsandboxed browser.
My own machines have never actually been infected since I started doing this (five or six years now), and only once or twice have I been called out to clean a client's machine set up in this manner. Invariably, the client chose NOT to run the sandboxed browser when they knew they should have.
In any case, it's far easier to recover a system running MSE than one with a "choke-ware" which has detected but is unable to remove some malware.
Also, clients appear to appreciate the complete LACK of scare-ware pop up warnings every year or so, or whenever it's coming up on renewal time.