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

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    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.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010


    Yeah, testing on a vanilla Arch would give more reliable results as who knows what garbage does Canonical bundle with both the desktops.
    Would be interesting comparing those results with a vanilla install to see if they actually optimize anything in Ubuntu or just put the default packages in.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Adiyaman, Turkey



    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:

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Thumbs down

    Big surprise about KDE SC ...
    Not that everyone already knows that KDE SC components are highly integrated and after startup KDE SC requires more memory, but the individual KDE apps usually require less memory on their own, while other DE's apps usually load more external dependencies into memory.
    In the end it roughly levels out among all of them.

    Not that anyone needs to care in times when even low-end notebooks come equipped with 4GB of RAM...

    And what's that bulls*** battery usage test?

    Do those numbers (battery, memory) even mean anything, if you don't provide if...
    a) compositing is enabled or not (if yes: using GPU-accelerated compositing or XRender-based compositing?).
    b) (K)Ubuntu launches additional applets (weather forecast? twitter client? printing?)
    c) file system indexing is enabled or not.

    For example (regarding "b)"), I assume that Ubuntu's KDE SC runs the Python-based printer-applet which on its own eats 20MB of RAM. I assume this, because that memory hog was developed by Canonical.
    OTOH there's another applet called Print Manager that only eats 2MB of RAM which is programmed in C++.

    If you feel the need to benchmark Linux DEs, at least do it in an objective and transparent way...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008


    Something is wrong with these memory results.

    Out of curiosity, I have been comparing the memory consumption of vanilla Ubuntu vs Kubuntu (9.04 & 9.10). Kubuntu has had the lowest so far and both are below 300MB with 3D effects enabled.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    I was just wondering whether we can actually trust the results of the KDE 4 memory usage; I'm not sure how polished Ubuntu is in that regard, but when I installed KDE in a Fedora system (i.e. parallel to GNOME) it still used the old GTK system management tools. Thus you actually load the KDE libraries AND other stuff like GTK or even some GNOME libraries as well, then it'd be no wonder KDE performs worst in these tests...
    Not sure about that theory though, anyone who knows better?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Edinburgh, Scotland


    It would be interesting if you could run ps -A or top to we can see what's running and what's eating the memory

    I wouldn't be surprised if nm-applet is running on KDE pulling in lots of GNOME libraries

    Some further analysis on this would be appreciated

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Die trolls, die!

    Default Benchmark

    FLAME WAR!!!

    - KDE use more ram, albeit this test was made with a gtk program.

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