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#1 2018-09-28 17:45:24

Registered: 2017-08-20
Posts: 106  

XFCE performance on old hardware?


Have you tried the default XFCE desktop on old computers, such as a Pentium Dual-Core with 2GB of RAM?

I am going to install Devuan on a few computers which will fulfill different tasks. I usually go for LXDE/LXQt or Openbox for this kind of hardware but some users claim that LXQt is not significantly faster than XFCE. Also, overall performance may vary significantly according to the Linux distribution. This question has a strong sense of déjà vu but I would appreciate your feedback and suggestions since I cannot experiment myself.


#2 2018-09-28 19:21:04

Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 2,079  

Re: XFCE performance on old hardware?

Been running xfce4 on my 2GHz Athlon X2 with 2GB RAM for more than 10 years. Been running it in jessie on an old Dell Inspiron 1525 (One of the early ubuntu models) with Pentium dual-core at 1.6GHz for a couple years with no problems. I did notice that ascii booted very slowly on the Dell until I added nomodeset to the boot line.

I ran lxde on the Athlon X2 box for about a year, and I didn't notice any difference in performance between that and xfce.

Here's some slightly more objective evidence: I can run xfce comfortably in a virtualbox VM with 384mb ram. (as long as I don't open firefox). For gnome2 or kde4 or ubuntu with unity I need to give it 640mb, and programs open so slowly I can't stand it.


#3 2018-09-29 00:38:25

Registered: 2017-05-04
Posts: 232  

Re: XFCE performance on old hardware?

I have XFCE running on 2 asus netbooks with 2GB ram, runs fine.  Can run libreoffice.  Use firefox qunatum and it runs without irritation.  Same results on an old Compaq celeron 386 with 2GB ram.  Sorry I dont have access to any of this hardware at the moment to post the processors, but the netbooks were Windows 7 era and the Compaq was Vista era, to give you an idea of the age.

My experience is 2GB is fine for XFCE, unless you need several application open at once and access large files.

I was running a minimal KDE on the netbooks and it was way too slow to boot from login to desktop. I used to run LXDE but found XFCE performs just as well.


#4 2018-09-29 20:44:36

Registered: 2017-01-14
Posts: 25  

Re: XFCE performance on old hardware?

I mostly work with older computers where I volunteer. I did an install two weeks ago. I put Devuan Xfce 64bit on a Dell Vostro 200 Mini Tower, with 1.6Ghz Core2Duo and 2GB RAM. It's from around 2007/2008. Works fine. Speedy? No. Acceptable? Yes.

About 10 months ago I installed Devuan Xfce 64bit on an Alienware m9700 Aurora Laptop. It came out in 2006, has an AMD Turion 64 mobile at 1.8GHz and 1GB RAM. Works fine. Speedy? No. Acceptable? Reasonably... it's for an 88 year old man who's not in a hurry.

Using the Pale Moon browser as a yardstick: first time after booting the Vostro, Pale Moon takes maybe 15 seconds to open. After that, about 4-5 seconds. First time after booting the laptop, Pale Moon takes maybe 30 seconds to open. After that, about 8-10 seconds. Loading a forum page like this one takes about 5-6 seconds for the Vostro and 10-12 seconds for the laptop. Both comfortably play full-screen video from the HD and online.

I did another install of Devuan Jessie almost 2 years ago. Can't recall the Dell desktop specs but it was closer to the laptop than the Vostro. I didn't think a full DE would work well using her 32" TV as a screen, so I did a base install with Fluxbox (very simple, large-text menu), Rox-filer and Skype. She can't watch full-screen youtube or Skype but the default video size in a maximized window on that screen works fine for her. Speedy? No. Acceptable? Reasonably... she's in her 70s.

I've not installed LXDE or LXQt so can't offer feedback. Just a thought... to see how well a DE or distro works, boot the ISO to RAM if you can. Whatever the hardware, it's a decent way to estimate its performance when installed.


#5 2018-10-26 14:40:10

Registered: 2018-09-27
Posts: 38  

Re: XFCE performance on old hardware?

I  used to run Lubuntu and Xubuntu. I found from my experience very little speed difference between LXDE and XFCE - if you use a few minor speed tweaks. First - install "Preload", second - turn off font-hinting and third... disable display composting. You can be amazed how responsive/snappy the peformance becomes. There are other XFCE tweaks but I suggest those 3 first.

Generally I found LXDE/LxQt  is too stripped down... to minimal for my taste. Nowhere near as as easy to customize as XFCE.



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