Speed Comparison of Four Ubuntu 18.04 Desktop Environments


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For a couple of years, I had Linux Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on my old Samsung laptop. To be honest, I was more than satisfied with it. At some point, I was offered an upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and I took the offer. But what happened next was not what I expected. I don’t know if I’m right or not but it seems that version 18.04 needed a bit more than my laptop could offer.

It’s a Samsung laptop with 4GB of RAM and AMD A6-4400M APU with Radeon (tm) HD Graphics × 2. The hard drive is 500GB of HDD. Gnome desktop was lagging and I started to think if I made a mistake or not by upgrading to 18.04. But I didn’t want to give up on 19.04 so easily. So I installed a lightweight desktop environment to test out if my old Samsung could handle the new 18.04.

Testing 18.04 Gnome, Unity, Lubuntu and LXDE desktop environments

So I made a simple set of test to go by with each of them. I wanted to test everyday situations in all of the environments to see if there is a big difference or not.

The test was the following:

  • Time from login to fully loading the desktop
  • Loading time of launching Inkscape
  • Loading time of launching Blender
  • Render time of test project in Blender
  • Loading time of launching Mozilla Firefox Browser
  • Memory usage after closing the applications

All the test were taken 3 times just to see if there were big differences within the environment.

Time from login to fully loading the desktop

The fastest time for the desktop environment to load up was using LXDE. The best I could get was 5 seconds from pushing the login button. The slowest was Unity with 38 seconds.

speed-comparison-of-four-ubuntu-1804-desktop-environments-login

Loading time of launching Inkscape

The fastest environment to start vector illustration software Inkscape was LXDE with 3,5 seconds. The slowest was Gnome with 37 seconds.

speed-comparison-of-four-ubuntu-1804-desktop-environments-inkscape

Loading time of launching Blender

I was hoping that Blender would open quickly as I’m using it almost every day. And it did, again, with LXDE. The shortest time was 2 seconds. For gnome, it took the longest to open the program with the time of 28 seconds.

speed-comparison-of-four-ubuntu-1804-desktop-environments-blender

Render time of test project in Blender

Render times were not that different but again LXDE and Lubuntu had it faster.

speed-comparison-of-four-ubuntu-1804-desktop-environments-render

Loading time of launching Mozilla Firefox Browser

Opening the Firefox browser was a big disappointment. The fastest I got was 6 seconds with LXDE. But the longest was staggering 1 minute and 50 seconds with Gnome desktop.

speed-comparison-of-four-ubuntu-1804-desktop-environments-firefox

Memory usage after closing the applications

Memory usage was between 22 and 91% with LXDE and Lubuntu being the lightest and with Unity being the heaviest.

speed-comparison-of-four-ubuntu-1804-desktop-environments-memory

 





Last update: 2018-10-16 (Y,M,D)

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