At least Ubuntu's default Unity desktop was working out fairly well for the GTK2-based GtkPerf benchmark, but it wasn't throughout all GTK widget operations to make it the overall fastest GTK desktop.
Intel SNA for the different desktops tended to be faster than UXA, which is certainly expected and of no surprise after all the Intel "Sandy Bridge New Acceleration" benchmarks on Phoronix up to this point. Overall, when it came to the 2D benchmarks for Unity, KDE, GNOME Shell, GNOME Classic, Xfce, and LXDE, the lighter-weight Xfce and LXDE desktops ran the fastest. This is similar to last week's OpenGL benchmark of the different Linux desktops where the default Ubuntu desktop tended to be in last place. However, with GTK and other select 2D work, Unity didn't fair quite as bad for the non-3D test profiles used in this article.