Ubuntu 21.10 Radeon Gaming With KDE Plasma vs. GNOME Shell + Wayland vs. X.Org

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 18 October 2021 at 08:14 AM EDT. Page 1 of 4. 48 Comments.

With last week's release of Ubuntu 21.10, here are some fresh benchmarks looking at the Linux gaming performance on this new release while testing both the GNOME Shell 40 default desktop to that of its KDE Plasma 5.22 based option. Both the X.Org and Wayland sessions for KDE and GNOME were benchmarked for seeing how the Linux gaming performance compares with the Radeon open-source GPU driver stack.

In the past we've seen the GNOME Shell Wayland-based Linux gaming experience to be in very good shape and in some games performing even better than the X.Org based environment. With GNOME / Mutter continuing to mature as well as running the latest open-source Radeon drivers, now with the Ubuntu 21.10 release it's a good time to re-test the performance. Additionally, the KDE Plasma Wayland experience has matured a heck of a lot this year and is now in much better shape for day-to-day use so it's been also included for this comparison.

Ubuntu 21.10 was tested out-of-the-box with its packaged GNOME Shell 40.5 and KDE Plasma 5.22.5 versions. The Radeon graphics support comes by way of Linux 5.13 and Mesa 21.2.2.

An AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card was used for all of these gaming benchmarks with a mix of Linux native games as well as some titles running via Valve's Steam Play (Proton + DXVK). For many games when running on the Wayland-based desktops it still means ultimately running through XWayland. Both desktops were left at their default settings and just switching between the X.Org and Wayland sessions for each.

Ubuntu 21.10 Desktops Linux Gaming

For those wondering about the NVIDIA Wayland vs. X.Org performance now that GBM support is landing, similar benchmarks on the GeForce side will come soon once the 495 driver stabilizes.

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