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Power & Memory Usage Of GNOME, KDE, LXDE & Xfce

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Xfce, LXDE, and other desktop environments are often referenced as being lighter-eight Linux desktop environments than KDE and GNOME, but what are the measurable performance differences between them? Curious how much of a quantitative impact the GNOME, KDE, Xfce, and LXDE desktops have on netbook systems, we carried out a small set of tests to look at the differences in memory usage, battery power consumption, and thermal performance.

While the Phoronix Test Suite is most often used by us and others to carry out direct performance benchmarks or other tests using the different test suites and profiles, the open-source testing platform of ours also has an advanced sensor monitoring framework with logging capabilities. The Phoronix Test Suite through the underlying Phodevi (Phoronix Device Interface) library is able to monitor various system vitals ranging from hardware sensors like the CPU temperature, system temperature, and battery power consumption to software values like the CPU and GPU utilization, IOwait, disk read/write speeds, and memory usage.

We installed each of the tested desktop environments through the Ubuntu Lucid repository and they included GNOME 2.29.91, KDE SC 4.4.1, LXDE 0.5, and Xfce 4.6.1.

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