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Thread: Power & Memory Usage Of GNOME, KDE, LXDE & Xfce

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    Default Power & Memory Usage Of GNOME, KDE, LXDE & Xfce

    Phoronix: Power & Memory Usage Of GNOME, KDE, LXDE & Xfce

    Xfce, LXDE, and other desktop environments are often referenced as being lighter-eight Linux desktop environments than KDE and GNOME, but what are the measurable performance differences between them? Curious how much of a quantitative impact the GNOME, KDE, Xfce, and LXDE desktops have on netbook systems, we carried out a small set of tests to look at the differences in memory usage, battery power consumption, and thermal performance.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=14645

  2. #2
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    Default Thanks!

    Thanks a lot for running those tests - I always had the feeling KDE4 was a memory hog - using more than twice the amount of memory right after startup than KDE-3.5.

    Well, hopefully they'll work on it - at the rate they add new features I doubt there's a lot time left tuning if, at least I haven't seen major speed/rousource optimizations since KDE-4.0

    Thanks again, Clemens

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    Quote Originally Posted by Linuxhippy View Post
    Thanks a lot for running those tests - I always had the feeling KDE4 was a memory hog - using more than twice the amount of memory right after startup than KDE-3.5.

    Well, hopefully they'll work on it - at the rate they add new features I doubt there's a lot time left tuning if, at least I haven't seen major speed/rousource optimizations since KDE-4.0

    Thanks again, Clemens
    It is apparently Kubuntu that is the memory hog, not KDE 4.4.1.

    I'm running Arch Linux with KDE 4.4.1, and I can start KDE using justt 260 MB of memory. With a qt-based browser (Arora) and file manager (Dolphin), editor (kwrite) and console (konsole) running, it uses 350 Mbytes. This is less than GNOME. I have no idea how Phoronix and Kubuntu manged to use up as much memory as they did.

    BTW, KDE 4.4.1 running under Arch Linux, with composited desktop using the open source ATI 3d graphics drivers, is faster than GNOME on the same hardware.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hal2k1 View Post
    It is apparently Kubuntu that is the memory hog, not KDE 4.4.1.

    I'm running Arch Linux with KDE 4.4.1, and I can start KDE using justt 260 MB of memory. With a qt-based browser (Arora) and file manager (Dolphin), editor (kwrite) and console (konsole) running, it uses 350 Mbytes. This is less than GNOME. I have no idea how Phoronix and Kubuntu manged to use up as much memory as they did.
    Nice try, but 350MB is almost exactly twice the memory usage I get on Arch/Gnome using the (pretty heavy) New Wave theme, Compiz, Gnome Do, Firefox and Nautilus: 174MB.



    KDE does use more memory than Gnome. It still fits in a 512MB machine, which means that noone really cares.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar View Post
    Nice try, but 350MB is almost exactly twice the memory usage I get on Arch/Gnome using the (pretty heavy) New Wave theme, Compiz, Gnome Do, Firefox and Nautilus: 174MB.

    ...

    KDE does use more memory than Gnome. It still fits in a 512MB machine, which means that noone really cares.
    Fair enough. I used htop as you did and had a look at the biggest memory user, and found to my surprise that it was Arora, which was using the same amount (4.2% of memory) for each tab opened. By closing Arora, I got it down to 265MB, which doesn't beat your figure, but nevertheless it is almost down to half of what the Phoronix tests claim that Kubuntu uses.

    I guess the critical thing is that if you have 512Mbytes or more, any desktop (other than perhaps Kubuntu) will run fine. If you have only 256Mbytes, no variant of Ubuntu will run well, and you will have to use something like Arch, perhaps with LXDE but it appears even GNOME might be OK.

    A 256 Mbyte machine is getting to be a pretty old machine these days. Even the cheap netbooks come with 1 Gbyte.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hal2k1 View Post
    I guess the critical thing is that if you have 512Mbytes or more, any desktop (other than perhaps Kubuntu) will run fine.......
    Kubuntu is fine in 512M, but I wouldn't ever recommend someone run it on a 256M machine. I generally recommend one of the Buntus where possible and depending of user needs, but when you're talking about a 256M machine then Arch looks like a much better choice.

    I consider a 256M machine a special case when it comes to OS selection. Ease of use and third party package availability rate very highly and most other considerations much lower without good reason to consider them as primary concerns.

    Still don't know why Michaels tests showed such a big difference between Gnome and KDE.

    Just for laughs I'm running some tests on a Celeron 1.2G (PIII), 40G, and 512M just to see what I find there.

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    (In my last post I said that it was my last post in this thread. Now it seems, I lied. But things have improved since then, a little bit.)

    Quote Originally Posted by hal2k1 View Post
    It is apparently Kubuntu that is the memory hog, not KDE 4.4.1.
    I think, the main problem is the methodology of the measurement, i.e. what is in fact being measured and how.

    Quote Originally Posted by hal2k1 View Post
    With a qt-based browser (Arora) and file manager (Dolphin), editor (kwrite) and console (konsole) running, it uses 350 Mbytes. This is less than GNOME. I have no idea how Phoronix and Kubuntu manged to use up as much memory as they did.
    Well, unlike you, I do know how Phoronix arrived at those numbers: the Phoronix numbers include the memory used by the disk cache. Try running phoronix-test-suite on your computer and see for yourself. So, for example if an application read some configuration data, or a PNG image, from disk during startup, then that disk data will still be in cache and gets included in the Phoronix results. Who knows how many megabytes got included like this.

    Maybe a better method would be:

    echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
    cat /proc/meminfo | grep MemTotal\|MemFree

    But by the far best solution would be to have a special page on Phoronix dedicated to methods used in obtaining the measurements. Such as "How does Phoronix measure memory consumption? What does the resulting number include, what it doesn't, etc.". THAT is what I am missing here. While you can get a precise idea about what and how is being measured by examining the phoronix-test-suite source code, it is not a good solution for a benchmarking site.

    Message to those who are using htop: those numbers are NOT comparable to Phoronix numbers. The htop numbers do not include cache and buffers. In my (first, I think) post I clearly mentioned that those 190MB I reported for KDE 4.4.1 do NOT include cache.



    Then, there is also the problem of not having information about processes running on the computer during the benchmarking ... but let's just stop here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by << ⚛ >> View Post
    (In my last post I said that it was my last post in this thread. Now it seems, I lied. But things have improved since then, a little bit.)
    So what exactly should we be apologising for, what is it that offends your sensibilities so heavily one wonders.

    Quote Originally Posted by << ⚛ >> View Post
    Well, unlike you, I do know how Phoronix arrived at those numbers: the Phoronix numbers include the memory used by the disk cache.
    Well if he's mixing together the memory usage of code+content with the amount the system has decided to cache due to what has been read off the disc then that seems a little inconsistent with the stated metrics being measured.

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    Default Misleading results

    I think you need to rethink these tests. The only true way to know how the DE performs is to do a vanilla install. I don't use Ubuntu so I don't know what extras they add. I can say that I run Arch with a full vanilla install of KDE 4.4.1. When I boot my system up it takes less than 200MB of ram. I also know that when XFCE 4.6 was released I tested it and the system used under 100MB of ram.

    I hope that everyone realizes that these results can only be applied to an Ubuntu system and other distros will have different results.

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    Michael, please DO NOT USE UBUNTU TO BENCHMARK MEMORY.

    On my system using Archlinux, KDE 4.4.1 takes 300 mbs, with compositing/effects turned on. and this is even lower than xfce on ubuntu.

    Here is the proof:

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