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I've found the following requirements for running KDE:

  • Required RAM: 615 MB
  • Required CPU: 1 GHz

where for Gnome 3.x shell (default mode), it is:

  • Required RAM: 768 MB
  • Required CPU: 400 MHz

and for XFCE:

  • Required RAM: 192 MB
  • Required CPU: 300 MHz


Is it possible to configure KDE in ways that it simpler and less resource demanding (less eye-candy)?

Can KDE (or Gnome) compete with for example XFCE if configured right?

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Those numbers are really off.

Data shows, that Gnome (2.xx) is actually faster or on the same level as XFCE. KDE3 is also really fast, but KDE4 is kinda bloated
However, there are some lightweight DEs you can try, maybe in this order:
2) Razor-qt (Qt based like KDE, but much faster)
3) Trinity Desktop (A maintained KDE3
4) MATE (It's a Gnome 2 basically)

And there are WMs and panels and such. A bit complicated, I don't recommend that.

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I have the idea that it's generally better to use a more popular DEs, since they're more active and perhaps more stable. Out of the three: Gnome 3, KDE 4 and XFCE, the last is still the least demanding one, right? If you ran XFCE/LXDE or some other DE with less eye-candy, would you have problems running any other programs or will it just be a more minimal DE? (I guess I could create a new question on this) – Anders Hovgaard Feb 21 '12 at 23:46
Hmm I'd advice using Trinity then. It is old, mature, and fast. Got skins, icons, anything. (Just search for KDE3) They still patch it, so the leftover bugs are getting ironed out too. MATE didn't gain that much popularity, it's just "being there". || You won't run into any problem running apps. Hell, you could run apps even on a simple "X session", and nothing else. – Shiki Feb 22 '12 at 0:06
Back then I used KDE4 apps and Openbox+Tint2. Without problems. Openbox was the window manager, Tint2 was the panel. (Openbox got no panel.) KDE4 apps were doing all the other job. || As a sidenote: Windows XP is much faster on a slow PC than XFCE. Really, and I mean this. I tried installing Fluxbox on a slower PC, but it wasn't any much better. – Shiki Feb 22 '12 at 0:07

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