[LOW-END PC] XFCE or GNOME?

Hey all,

Installing EOS on a low-end device (2.4 Ghz, Intel HD 620, 4GB DDR3). Confused whether I should install GNOME or XFCE.

My mom is going to be using this, so I want to make the UI has “Window-ish” as possible without taking much toll on the resources. While XFCE might be fast, the UI isn’t very fancy - at least for a Windows user - and can get confusing. GNOME on the other hand is good in looks, but I am not sure whether it would give out good performance in 4GB DDR3.

So, which one?

Xfce can certainly be customized - though not as good as Plasma, but the default Xfce theme isn’t a good representation of what all Xfce can be. :wink:

I haven’t played around with Gnome enough to comment on its resource efficiency.

I have a similar system at my home. I’ve used Budgie and Xfce on it for “average user tasks”. Never found them to be severely lagging. Make sure you have swap. (I’d recommend zram).

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Which ever works the best for you.

For modern systems it is rather a matter of taste and how you work than about capability.

A couple of years back I tried importing (EU) and distributing a fairly cheap Yepo laptop with specs similar to yours perhaps more lowend as the cpu was Intel N3450 with 4G RAM 13" FHD screen and 250G SSD.

They ran fine with an Arch based distribution - whether the desktop was Gnome, KDE or Xfce - no issues.

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Forgot to mention that the system would be used for online classes, mail and music, so I think GNOME won’t be very heavy on resources. XFCE is great, I used it for 2 months when I was new to Linux, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time customizing it.

Could you elaborate on what zram is?

If you are looking for a snappy good looking system you could go for a not so often mentioned combination.

LXQt with Kwin - it is a thrill.

To get an idea of what packages needed and some preset you could snatch my recipe from github.

https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/improving_performance#zram_or_zswap

Basically, a compressed block on your RAM, that you use as swap.

I mention zram, because it would be much faster than swapping on hdd (assuming the system doesn’t have ssd)

zram does require extra processor usage, but it works fairly well on my Intel Pentium G2020, so you could use it too.

Edit : Using swap is not a compulsion, but with 4gb ram, I would recommend you have it.

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You can use KDE version, as it works good on lower end devices(relatively). As mentioned by @flyingcakes , KDE offers better customization.
I am not making this statement by taking from web, rather this is derived from my experience so far.
My device runs on 3 GB RAM , which is even lower than yours( I had bought about 10 years ago), but its performance is very good.
Also I want to mention I had not used ZRAM which was mentioned by @flyingcakes , though I will definitely consider about its usage in future.

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I am clearly voting for Xfce. It is customizable, highly configurable, and requires less resources than Gnome.

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that is a big no to gnome then :wink:

second that. KDE Plasma gives you the most Windows-like way out of the box, and as long as you don’t install any akonadi-based services, it is also easy on the RAM. Used it on 2 4GB machines without issues. You won’t need akonadi-services anyway. The only widely used akonadi service is Kmail, but Thunderbird is the better option there.

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I had compared the result from my friend, who is using MX Linux + XFCE setup.

The difference in RAM usage b/w his and mine system(EndeavourOS + KDE) is not much.
Around 50-80 MB more consumption on my device, which is compensated by better customization options.
:smile:

I just got a laugh :grin: - this kind of question summons the Beowulf with the strong opinions on the wordings lightweight and low on resources.

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I find less customizability in KDE than in Xfce. Anyway, there really isn’t as much difference in RAM usage as we might think.

LXDE has the lowest usage in these two examples:

https://unihost.com/help/how-to-choose-linux-desktop-environment-ram-usage/

Generally speaking there are relatively small differences in RAM usage.
Ease of use also has to be considered.

If you are interested on how they look, why don’t you test both in virtual machines?
The Xfce on EndeavourOS is slightly customized, and Gnome is not.

Xfce is very stable, but Gnome has had a few stability problems.

gnome on a low end will be noticeably slower than just about any other popular DE. If you’re looking for windowish, then xfce is nice but pretty “functional” looking (obviously can be meddled with but still…), kde has all the jazz from the get go, but for something real nice and clean and smooth without too much jazz to play with, cinnamon (runs smooth as anything on this little old N4200 with 4Gb and an average sata ssd). I know you said xfce/gnome, but you did mention windowish too…hence cinnamon.

Does the system have to be Arch(-based)?

If the look of it is more important, you could have a look at ZorinOS which comes with a Windows like customized DE. If I am not mistaken it is a tweaked Gnome.

If you want a truly Windows look:

I haven’t used any of them so I cannot talk to their performance.

Thanks for this, I didn’t know the zram / zswap thing, the guide I used to install EOS on my main PC just listed to make a swap partition which is 1.5x the value of your actual RAM. Might get this running on both PCs.

As for the combo you suggested, I would try it on my main, since I am still fairly new to Linux and there’s time to trip around :wink:

As I am used to EOS / Arch, yes, I would prefer it all to be Arch-based.

Xfce is a good choice. :wink:

Compaq CQ 58 (2011)
KDE work like a charm :wink:

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