How does the choice of desktop environments you make for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS impact your system's performance and power consumption? Here's the latest round of benchmarking from the various Ubuntu 12.04 desktop environment choices -- Unity, Unity 2D, GNOME Shell, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and Openbox -- when running them on three different laptops.
Back in February I provided some initial test results looking at the gaming/graphics performance with Unity, GNOME, KDE, and Xfce. Since then Canonical's Unity desktop has improved with a major new release (v5.8) as well as Compiz improvements, which reportedly have improved the power efficiency and performance. Additionally, there have been the stable releases of GNOME 3.4 and KDE 4.8. (Earlier this month I also delivered extensive Ubuntu 12.04 power consumption benchmarks from several different mobile devices.)
As usual, all of this testing was done with the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS default settings for the OS itself and each desktop environment. All of the desktop packages were obtained from the Ubuntu Precise repository.
First up are the results from an Intel Core i7 laptop with NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M and the proprietary 295.33 NVIDIA Linux graphics driver.