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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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