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

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  • #31
    My aging laptop gets about 1 hour battery life on Karmic with compiz running (GNOME). With KDE4 it gets 45min. using the most aggressive power save profile.
    Anyway, KDE4 just uses more RAM. On my 32bit laptop GNOME idles around 200-600MB after prolonged usage, with KDE4 showing a bit higher numbers (200-800MB). On my 64bit desktop, KDE4 with plasmoids on the desktop and effects shows me 800MB-1.7GB after a few hours of up time, and GNOME with Compiz running 500MB-1.5GB.

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    • #32
      The test is indeed flawed as far as Gnome vs KDE vs the world is concerned, however the results are consistent with what a typical *buntu user will get - which means they are useful.

      As for vanilla Gnome memory usage, I get 90MB on Arch (gnome and gnome-extras installed). If I use a better theme (New Wave) and install a couple of useful applications (Mono, Gnome Do) I go up to 120MB. Add compiz and, wait for it, 151MB. I measure memory usage with System Monitor, which takes up about 4.6MB (included in the previous results).

      Pretty good results, I think.

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      • #33
        Results are as expected... And they don't mean anything.

        So let's get practical and run a webbrowser on a netbook, puh-fscking-lease... Combine this with photomanagement and an audio library app, playing some music?

        KDE4: more features, does more thus consumes more in idle state but is best performing under load
        Xfce: Gnome on a diet
        Gnome: does less in idle state thus consumes more and can't handle heavy load on low performing netbooks.
        Lxde: speed in tiny codebase. Doesn't scale and doesn't consume. Doesnt waste nor saves battery. Focus on performance.

        Compositing doesn't matter because Intel gpu's don't save a lot, if any, power in an idle state.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by monraaf View Post
          Great comparison Michael. I think Lubuntu is going to be a great lightweight distro. Also it's good to know that GNOME devs actually understand that memory is a shared resource. Unlike the fglrx and KDE devs who either think they can take it all, or that memory is an infinite resource.
          KDe devs care about memory. That is why they use KPARTS. Modules reused wherever possible. Unlike gnome which is a bunch of clobbered together 3rd party apps.

          http://ktown.kde.org/~seli/memory/de...benchmark.html

          old, but he at least knew what he was doing.

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          • #35
            I meant Gnome consumes less onstead of more in idle state... damn 1min time limit plus mobile phone with internet >.<

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            • #36
              KDE 4 takes 190MB after start-up. Vanilla KDE, Gentoo.

              Phoronix, please, for heaven's sake, labe yours tests correctly. This was an "Ubuntu memory and power usage," not "KDE, Gnome, LXDE & Xfce".

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              • #37
                I understand the point behind "out of the box" experience but does it always have to be a *buntu box? It's well known that Kubuntu provides the worst KDE experience.

                Why not use a distro that provides a reasonable representation of all desktop environments to be tested?

                I'm sorry but anything from Kubuntu is not a fair test. KDE should do something about the brand damaging being done.

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                • #38
                  I'll probably get flamed away for this, but if GNOME (Ubuntu) would have had higher memory usage compared to KDE (Kubuntu), then most people would have come and said how this proves once again why GNOME fails for some many reasons. Now that KDE, which generally gets quite a bit of positive support in these forums, comes out as the "loser", it's all but but but and this is flawed.

                  Ok so KDE uses more memory. So? Doesn't make it a bad DE or GNOME the greatest DE ever. But instead it's "But on my special-uber-plasma-pwn machine KDE actually only uses -15 MB of RAMz. You fail!!!!11111"

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by bash View Post
                    I'll probably get flamed away for this, but if GNOME (Ubuntu) would have had higher memory usage compared to KDE (Kubuntu), then most people would have come and said how this proves once again why GNOME fails for some many reasons. Now that KDE, which generally gets quite a bit of positive support in these forums, comes out as the "loser", it's all but but but and this is flawed.

                    Ok so KDE uses more memory. So? Doesn't make it a bad DE or GNOME the greatest DE ever. But instead it's "But on my special-uber-plasma-pwn machine KDE actually only uses -15 MB of RAMz. You fail!!!!11111"
                    You may get flamed, but your words ring true.

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                    • #40
                      First of: ppl. with arch/gentoo asking for vanilla tests please do it yourself and post here the results you get. I think this approach is better and doing so you will contribute more knowledge and help ppl. be more informed about this issue.

                      Second, I think that (at least for me) the results are as expected.

                      LXDE is the lightest DE because it offers the least amount of gfx candy and least amount of functionality. But guess what, for some ppl. this is exactly what they are looking for.

                      Then we have Gnome, which is between LXDE and KDE. It's a full DE, plenty of apps., some gfx candy (if you want more you get it with compiz) and middle resource usage. For some ppl. this middle ground is the sweet spot.

                      Then you get KDE: the full DE platform. You get lots of gfx candy, lots of apps/services/addons/widgets. Ppl. that like customization will feel @ home here.

                      So they all fill a "niche" and there is place for all of them.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Jimmy View Post
                        I understand the point behind "out of the box" experience but does it always have to be a *buntu box? It's well known that Kubuntu provides the worst KDE experience.
                        I strongly disagree. In my experience, Arch >> Fedora > Kubuntu >> openSUSE (with openSUSE providing by far the worst KDE experience). I find vanilla KDE as found on Arch or Gentoo is better put together on the whole. Fedora is somewhat of a mixed bug (maybe due to the unstable nature of the distro) and Kubuntu works but is somewhat lackluster compared to its Gnome sibling (some strange default choices, but progressively getting better). OpenSUSE could be used as a good example of how a distro should *not* look and work like.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by bash View Post
                          I'll probably get flamed away for this, but if GNOME (Ubuntu) would have had higher memory usage compared to KDE (Kubuntu), then most people would have come and said how this proves once again why GNOME fails for some many reasons. Now that KDE, which generally gets quite a bit of positive support in these forums, comes out as the "loser", it's all but but but and this is flawed.

                          Ok so KDE uses more memory. So? Doesn't make it a bad DE or GNOME the greatest DE ever. But instead it's "But on my special-uber-plasma-pwn machine KDE actually only uses -15 MB of RAMz. You fail!!!!11111"
                          No, the point is that the RAM usage of Ubuntu does not reflect any of those desktops correctly. People see 500MB usage for KDE or 300MB for Gnome and think that's how much RAM those DEs need.

                          That's just wrong. KDE would need about 150MB on its own and Gnome about 80MB. We know that Gnome uses less memory. But the numbers Phoronix reports are just... wrong.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by BlackStar View Post
                            I strongly disagree. In my experience, Arch >> Fedora > Kubuntu >> openSUSE (with openSUSE providing by far the worst KDE experience). I find vanilla KDE as found on Arch or Gentoo is better put together on the whole. Fedora is somewhat of a mixed bug (maybe due to the unstable nature of the distro) and Kubuntu works but is somewhat lackluster compared to its Gnome sibling (some strange default choices, but progressively getting better). OpenSUSE could be used as a good example of how a distro should *not* look and work like.
                            I strongly disagree. In my experience, openSUSE >> Arch > > Mandriva >> Fedora >>Kubuntu (with openSUSE providing by far the most refined and bug free KDE experience).

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                              KDE 4 takes 190MB after start-up. Vanilla KDE, Gentoo.

                              Phoronix, please, for heaven's sake, labe yours tests correctly. This was an "Ubuntu memory and power usage," not "KDE, Gnome, LXDE & Xfce".
                              You should also test LXDE and Gnome than post your results.
                              I say this because a poster above you, BlackStar, got 90 MB for Gnome (even with mono and gnome-do and compiz, which are 3rd party apps, it takes 151 MB, still lower than your results).

                              So from a memory point of view, KDE > Gnome > LXDE (the exact size doesn't matter because it varies from distro to distro, what matters is the difference on the same distro; so phoronix results still stand).

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                              • #45
                                I don't think there's any doubt that Ubuntu with KDE on top is quite a different animal to Kubuntu in terms of memory usage not to mention various integration bits and pieces.

                                While it's certainly valid to post stats for Ubuntu plus KDE on top, it would've been quite helpful to include a stock Kubuntu install in the mix as well. Some *buntu users of KDE will have an Ubuntu install with KDE on top, but most would likely go for a Kubuntu install usually.

                                One thing I will say regarding KDE memory usage though is that KDE plus Compiz has a better memory footprint than does KDE plus composited Kwin.

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