KDE vs. GNOME, X.Org vs. Wayland Radeon Linux Gaming Performance With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 12 May 2018 at 02:00 PM EDT. Page 1 of 6. 53 Comments.

For those wondering how the Radeon Linux gaming performance is changed between desktop environments when testing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS out-of-the-box, here are some benchmarks. Not only is it looking at the performance between GNOME Shell 3.28.1 and KDE Plasma 5.12.4, but it's also comparing each desktop environment with its X.Org and Wayland session support. Additionally, these tests were done with both AMD Radeon Polaris and Vega graphics cards.

For your weekend Linux gaming benchmark enjoyment is tests of the popular Radeon RX 580 and RX Vega 64 graphics cards on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS when testing the KDE Plasma and GNOME Shell sessions with both X.Org and Wayland. Though in the case of Wayland with the Steam Runtime build of SDL2 still not having the Wayland back-end enabled even if setting the SDL video driver environment variable, it largely comes down still to looking at the XWayland performance overhead where relevant.

Ubuntu 18.04 was tested out-of-the-box with its default KDE Plasma and GNOME packages. As well, the stock Radeon graphics stack of Linux 4.15 with Mesa 18.0 built against LLVM 6.0 SVN was used for this GPU and desktop / display stack testing roundabout. It will be interesting to test this once again for Ubuntu 18.10 as its development progresses, especially with KDE's Wayland support continuing to mature and also most notable will be the landing of X.Org Server 1.20 and its many XWayland enhancements as well as other improvements to the X stack.

Ubuntu 18.04 - KDE GNOME Wayland vs. X.Org Radeon

A wide variety of OpenGL and Vulkan Linux gaming benchmarks were carried out using the Phoronix Test Suite in a fully-automated and reproducible manner across the two Radeon graphics cards and four desktop configurations.

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