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Ubuntu 13.04 Desktop Comparison: 6 Desktops, 5 Driver/GPU Combinations

Michael Larabel

Published on 13 December 2012
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 6 - 37 Comments

In this article are benchmarks of six different desktops (Unity, GNOME Shell, GNOME Classic, KDE Plasma, Xfce, and LXDE) on five different GPU/driver configurations (Radeon, Catalyst, Intel, NVIDIA, and Nouveau) running the very latest Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" development packages to look at the latest state of the Ubuntu Linux gaming OpenGL performance.

Back in September was the last time I did OpenGL benchmarks of the Unity / KDE / GNOME / Xfce / LXDE desktops from some different configurations, but since then the various Linux desktop environments and graphics drivers have undergone a number of improvements. To see how Ubuntu 13.04 is looking for OpenGL gaming performance about half-way through its development cycle, here's a number of new extensive tests looking at the Linux OpenGL performance under different desktops.

The desktops being tested in this article from the Ubuntu 13.04 Raring repository as of this week were:

- Unity 6.6.0
- GNOME Shell 3.6.2
- GNOME Classic 3.6.2
- KDE Plasma 4.9.90
- Xfce 4.10
- LXDE 0.5.11

The tested graphics / driver configurations as of this week from the Ubuntu 13.04 package archive were:

- Radeon: AMD Radeon HD 6870 with xf86-video-ati 7.0.0, Mesa 9.0.1, Linux 3.7.0-5.
- Catalyst: AMD Radeon HD 6870 with fglrx 9.0.2 / OpenGL 4.2.11903.
- Intel: Intel HD 4000 Ivy Bridge graphics (from the i7-3770K CPU) with xf86-video-intel 2.20.14, Mesa 9.0.1, Linux 3.7.0-5.
- NVIDIA: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 with NVIDIA 310.14 display driver providing OpenGL 4.3.0.
- Nouveau: NVIDIA GeForce 9800GTX with xf86-video-nouveau 1.0.4, Mesa 9.0.1, Linux 3.7.0-5.

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