[LAU] Resource gains - lightweight Desktop vs KDE, Gnome

Len Ovens len at ovenwerks.net
Mon Oct 13 22:56:32 UTC 2014

On Mon, 13 Oct 2014, Russell Hanaghan wrote:

> Hi all,
> To refine the question a bit;
> Older laptops in this case... 1.6ghz - 2.2ghz dual core 64bit processors 
> and their rough equivalents, running say, current KDE4 Ubuntu like 
> environment, vs flux/blackbox <add ur choice here>, etc.  anyone got any 
> real results?

Atom single core, 1.6Ghz, 1G ram, 32bit... Not much difference from xfce 
to lxde/blackbox, that I can tell. Nice thing about xfce stock menu is 
that new SW just shows up in the menu... not much of a difference. Unity 
and gnome session just don't work well enough to run a browser let alone 
audio apps. This may be more video drivers related. KDE is tunable. But I 
have found the performance hit with no tuning to be not noticable really. 
I can run guitarix at 64/2 (USB AI) 64/3 (internal HDA) reasonably well. 
The major problem is memory, 1G is really not enough, 2G makes a 
difference. I have not added memory though because I don't use this for 
audio. I am running xfce and using Jack as the audio backend with pulse 
for desktop stuff, bvecause I do try some audio bits once in a while. So 
there is a small step from KDE OOTB over xfce, but unity and gnome session 
do take a lot more of something that my machine doesn't have. There are a 
number of people using a P4 single core to run more than I do on this.

> Like, I want to record at 128/2 ... Can I run a softsynth or Jammin on 
> top of a few live plugins running simultaneously kind of difference or 
>... The point I'm subtly pointing toward... Does the lightweight WM or DT 
> really give me anymore power to do something useful??

Like I say the biggest hit is memory. The WM generally is not the whole 
story, xfce WM is not much bigger than xfwm for example, but xfce 
generally has a whole pile of extra processes running.

Where this is noticable is that i use more than one "workspace". So the 
systray WS switcher is pretty imortant. I set jack running and do jacl 
connections in one screen then run Ardour on another. Part way through I 
need to switch to another WS and so hit the WS switcher..... and find it 
has swapped out and the audio just dies waiting for swap to finish. 
Swappiness helps but doubling the memory fixes it.

so long as I stick to the one screen, I can run the cpu at 800mhz (half 
speed) and have not xruns. kxstudio uses kde and ubuntustudio uses xfce, 
both have live DVD isos so they can be tried without installing.

Soft Synths and effects vary rather a lot in what they need for 
cpu/memory. I did have some things that just didn't run. foo yc20 for 
example, was just a mess of xruns/noises on this box no matter the DE. 
Hexter never glitched, it was fine.

Len Ovens

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