Whether your desktop is a memory-hungry monster is an important consideration depending on the amount of RAM in your computer. If you’ve got less than 4GB of RAM, and a weak CPU, it can be an important consideration.
Bear in mind that memory usage of a DE depends on many factors. For example, some distributions apply their own modifications to each environment.
Pantheon’s memory footprint is comparable to that of GNOME and KDE. CPU cycles are a bit lower but not that significant. And you’ll need to install Tweaks if you want to turn off animations.
Trinity’s desktop weighs in at a shade under 350MB RAM. It takes the middle group, a far cry from the lightweight Enlightenment, and offers modest savings compared to the mainstream GNOME and KDE.
LXDE proclaims that it’s both lightweight and fast. The developers say it uses less RAM and less CPU than other DEs. LXDE is especially designed for cloud computers with low hardware specifications, such as, netbooks, mobile devices (e.g. MIDs) or older computers. Our tests confirm LXDE is frugal with both RAM and CPU cycles. In fact, when surveyed against all the other DEs, only Enlightenment has a lower memory footprint.
It’s worth putting into context a desktop’s memory footprint by comparing it with other popular software. The chart above shows memory usage of Firefox, LibreOffice Calc, Filezilla, RStudio, Terminator, and Dolphin. To make for valid comparisons, the desktops were tested under Enlightenment.
Learn more about the features offered by each desktop environment. We’ve compiled a dedicated page for each desktop environment explaining, in detail, the features each offers together with screenshots.
|Pantheon||Showcasing the elementary OS|
|LXDE||Desktop environment with low resource requirement|
|Trinity Desktop||Qt3-based KDE 3.x form traditional computer desktop that is responsive|