• RAM Usage: Gnome vs. Cinnamon

    So, I’m seriously considering installing Antergos after having spent much of the day watching videos and reading about it. I used Manjaro once upon a time and currently run Peppermint 7.

    I’m torn between installing Antergos with Gnome or Cinnamon. (I basically only want to use one DE as my brain muddles easily 😃 ) I’m wondering, though, how the RAM usage between the two compares when they are at idle. One review said Gnome in Antergos used about 800 mb at idle, which seems a bit high. How does Cinnamon stack up?

    Also, what are the main differences in applications available at install between the two (or on the initial installation), if any? (From screenshots, it appears the basic audio player is different between the two, for example.) I know they will look different, but I gather there are ways to tweak the desktop in Cinnamon just as there are in Gnome, albeint probably without the Tweak Tool.

    I apologize if this is not the right place to pose this or if these questions have been answered elsewhere. (I did not see them.)

    EDIT: Fixed subject line to reflect the fact that I’m asking about RAM usage and not CPU.

  • I believe you can find the default packages here: packages.xml.

    You say CPU usage but then mention memory… The CPU usage and memory difference between the two should be negligible on any modern system and you shouldn’t base your decision on them.

  • @WaltH As @Ouroboros notes, you mention CPU usage but then speak about memory usage in idle. I’ll limit to the used memory only.

    All Antergoses are heavily personalized here, and don’t use any of default themes. No additional programs run in background, except conky. The average numbers for used memory in idle are:

    • Mate-Compiz: 750 M
    • Mate-Marco: 650 M
    • Cinnamon: 860 M
    • Gnome3rd: 825 M
    • Plasma: 440 M

    Plasma’s value is not a typo. I’m very surprised with it.

    As for apps available during install, there are no differences between Antergos DEs. Obviously, except basic apps, which make up every single DE. Cnchi allows to install the same set of additional software in every DE, without exclusion.


    Oops, almost forgot. Instead of default Marco, I use Compiz in Mate. With Marco, memory usage in Mate is 100 M lower:

    • Mate-Compiz: 750 M
    • Mate-Marco: 650 M
  • @just Interesting, i can confirm that Mate uses the amount of memory ram you mentioned, i’d say between 550-650 (looking on conky). I’m surprised that Plasma showed less ram consume since is slower than Mate every time i compared both (using the desktop not comparing numbers).
    And in the very same empiric observations, i’d say that Gnome seems to be faster here than Plasma at least with my pc specifications and not using proprietary drivers for graphical card.

  • Sorry about confusing my terminology there. I really should know better. That’s what I get for trying to ask intelligent questions when I’m tired. @just - The Plasma number is surprising. I only wish I liked KDE more. (Not really sure what my objections are, though I suspect they are based on an old prejudice of KDE having seemed bloated compared to other DEs.) That number is about what I see with Peppermint 7 while running Conky.

    It sounds like maybe what I need to look at more is which, if any, of the available browsers consume less memory with multiple tabs open. I tend to have a lot of tabs open (ten or more usually), and in Firefox I find that the memory consumption tends to creep up the longer the browser (and the tabs) is open, eventually reaching close to 5 GB. I have 8 GB, but I find the browser (and the overall system) tends to become sluggish the longer it is open. (I’m sure there are settings somewhere I’m not aware of that could be tweaked to help with this. Or perhaps this is simply a function of browsers.)

    @Ouroboros - Thanks for that packages link. That will certainly help compare my two front-runners of Cinnamon and Gnome.

  • Out of curiosity, I’ve checked memory usage in pure Arch Linux and in Bluestar, an Arch clone, somewhat similar to Antergos. I use proprietary Nvidia drivers everywhere.

    The config of native Arch Linux is identical to those of Antergos here. The two are undistinguishable one from another.

    Native Arch:

    • Mate-Compiz: 810 M
    • Mate-Marco: 720 M
    • Cinnamon: 830 M
    • Gnome3rd: 825 M
    • Plasma: 420 M

    Arch numbers are more or less equal to those in Antergos. Arch-Mate eats a bit more memory than Antergos-Mate, in both Compiz and Marco configs. Arch-Plasma consumes even less than Antergos-Plasma. Another surprize.

    Bluestar is a monster that runs a ton of additional services and background programs of all kinds. There’s only Plasma here.


    • Plasma: 950 M
  • Anyone have similar RAM numbers for Xfce on Antergos?

  • @Ouroboros I did notice that the link you provided did not list KDE packages, which I found odd. Does KDE keep its packages secret, or is there that much flexibility in which parts of KDE one chooses to install? (If the latter, that has changed and possibly eliminated my main reason for not using KDE.)

  • @WaltH Ah well, about browsers i use Opera, to me is the fastest, Firefox is slow indeed. I also use Chromium when i need some plugin the is not available to Opera like “Magic actions for youtube” to speed up movies etc.
    I guess you should change a bit your topic title to be more clear now.

  • @fernandomaroto - you are probably right, though I am interested in the RAM usage. Perhaps I will post a separate question about browsers.

  • @WaltH ok, it’s weird to me that you use so much ram with opened tabs (ok, is a firefox thing), i also open a lot, sometimes even 20 or more and never used more than 3 GB (under Opera)

    This is Opera under i3-wm running a lot of stuffs, all the youtube videos were playing at the same time; also running transmission on another desktop!

  • @fernandomaroto Sounds like I need to take another look at Opera (or maybe Vivaldi). I used it years ago.

  • @WaltH said in RAM Usage: Gnome vs. Cinnamon:

    @Ouroboros I did notice that the link you provided did not list KDE packages, which I found odd. Does KDE keep its packages secret, or is there that much flexibility in which parts of KDE one chooses to install? (If the latter, that has changed and possibly eliminated my main reason for not using KDE.)

    KDE is included in the package.xml but only has one package listed, antergos-kde-setup. antergos-kde-setup appears to be a meta-package, you can find its PKGBUILD with depends here: antergos-kde-setup

  • @Ouroboros - Thanks for the link! Interesting that they decided to use VLC and Clementine over the standard KDE apps. Could some of those decisions help to account for the lower RAM usage @just encounters with Plasma versus the other DEs?

  • I’m not familiar with KDE or Bluestar so I can’t really comment, but Antergos does appear to be pretty light with the KDE spin’s package selection and configuration.

    FWIW, there’s the plasma and kde-applications package groups if you want all the default KDE apps.

  • @Ouroboros - I did notice that some things I would have typically expected as part of a KDE install were not present, which makes me think I should consider KDE a bit more seriously.

  • KDE is difficult to learn because you can customize everything, and if you are inconsistent in theming, you’ll have problems. That being said, I really think it’s the best. The YouTube channel BigDaddy has some excellent videos on KDE that will show you how to set up themes so that they work well together. I recommend you look through them before you decide. He dives into the meat of KDE very well rather than simply showing off his setup which (yawn!) is what most YouTube posters have done.

  • @Mike-Bee - Thanks! I’ll take a look.

  • I just installed Gnome, mainly because I love the look of the Adwaita-dark theme. That’s really the only reason. That and I accidentally borked my /home partition on my laptop. But I was very surprised at the choppiness of the animations. When I connected to my stereo via bluetooth, the music squelched every now and then. 0AD was almost unplayable. When I checked the ram usage, it was huge, compared to Plasma. 1.6 gigs after starting some programs but then quiting them. So, I looked it up and arrived here.

    The thing is that I have 4 gigs of ram on that laptop. It shouldn’t have been happening.

    I remember when KDE was considered a bloated RAM hog. I’ve also read that Gnome is supposed to give up some of its RAM when other programs need it. Apparently its a myth or doesn’t work as it should.

  • @WaltH said in RAM Usage: Gnome vs. Cinnamon:

    Could some of those decisions help to account for the lower RAM usage @just encounters with Plasma versus the other DEs?

    None whatsoever, if what we are considering is RAM @ idle. Running services or applications, yes; installed applications, no. What makes Plasma 5 use less RAM at this stage of the game is improved system caching.


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