RAM usage of various Linux desktop environments

I have spent the last few years jumping between various Linux distributions and desktop environments, searching for the ideal balance between resource efficiency (CPU and RAM) and eye candy.

For those new to Linux, a desktop environment is a set of programs/tools that sits on top of the base Linux distribution (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Red Hat). Some desktop environments are:

The following table shows the results of evaluating a number of different distribution / desktop environment combinations throughout June 2016, in order from highest RAM usage to lowest.

Distribution Desktop Based Off Kernel Version RAM (MB)
Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 Gnome 3 Ubuntu 16.04 4.4.0-21-generic 726
Debian Gnome Gnome 3 Debian Stretch 4.5.0-2-amd64 646
Fedora 24 Beta Gnome 3 Fedora 24 4.5.2-302.fc24.x86_64 622
Elementary OS 0.3.2 Pantheon Ubuntu 14.04 3.19.0-59-generic 604
Ubuntu Unity 16.04 Unity 7 Ubuntu 16.04 4.4.0-22-generic 597
LXLE LXLE Ubuntu 14.04 484
Debian XFCE XFCE 1.12 Debian Jessie 322
Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Mate Ubuntu 16.04 4.4.0-21-generic 321
Lubuntu 16.04 LXDE Ubuntu 16.04 4.4.0-22-generic 222
Manjaro LXQT LXQT Archlinux 181
Sparkylinux Minimal Openbox Debian Stretch 4.5.0-1-amd64 179
Debian LXDE LXDE Debian Stretch 4.5.0-2-amd64 170
Manjaro Openbox Openbox Archlinux 145
Debian Custom Openbox Openbox Debian Stretch 4.5.0-2-amd64 67
Debian CLI only None Debian Stretch 4.5.0-2-amd64 27

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Posted on Jul 5, 2016 in Articles | Tags: TechnologyLinuxDesktop EnvironmentUbuntuDebianFedoraLinux Mint