Need help finding the lightest Desktop Environment and configuration

I am currently having KDE Plasma DE but want to switch to a very very lightweight DE

OS: Manjaro 5.22.4
CPU: i3 7100U (2.4 GHz quad core)
GPU: Mesa Intel HD Graphics 620 (KBL GT2)
Device: Dell 5378
RAM: 4GB DDR4 (Expandable up to 16 GB)

As you can see from the specifications of my device, my machine is not very powerful and hangs a lot while doing some resource consuming task. I currently have KDE on manjaro and have also had the taste of GNOME on Ubuntu earlier. Both seem to be quite heavy to me and lag a lot while I open multiple tabs on web browser or open Android Studio or Blender. So I want a Desktop Environment as lightweight as possible as possible.XFCE is also not that lightweight (seen on manjaro wiki). I searched at manjaro wiki and found Enlightenment(E) and LXDE as lightweight DEs. So just wanted to know whether they are stable DEs as I am quite new to manjaro so not that technically knowledgeable. Also, wanted some suggestions on whether is there any other way of making my manjaro more lightweight so that more RAM can be allocated to other applications and not to the OS. Can I get some help on this issue ?

I have no experience with Android Studio but Blender requires there to be a bare minimum of 8 GiB of RAM in the machine, and up to 32 GiB for professional use, so I’m not surprised that it bogs down your machine. And in this day and age, web pages have become very heavy, as are the browsers themselves.

Now, GNOME is a heavyweight, but KDE Plasma’s memory footprint is about on par with that of XFCE.

Of course, that’s still a bit more than what LXDE requires, but this in turn still needs more than a simple window manager like OpenBox or i3. As a newbie, you’ll probably be more comfortable with OpenBox than with i3, because i3 is very keyboard-heavy and has a bit of a learning curve to it.

Still, I think you’re probably best off upgrading your RAM to 8 GiB, because the GUI won’t make all that much of a difference. It’s the applications you’re running which fill up your memory ─ especially browsers and Blender.


Yes, I know it. But it would take some time but would definitely do that. I just wanted to make things a little better if possible to keep things going for now. What if I remove the DE and install a window manager like iceWM ?
Edit: I just came to know that a DE is just a customized and optimised window manager which means I have no choice but to wait to upgrade my machine. Thanks for your help :blush:

Post title edited. “How to get” is neither a question nor proper grammar. :wink:

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with this 2 apps, win 500Mo change nothing for you :wink: check your swap, how to use it ?
me, with Android Studio(when debug app) 6Go (real) ram is not enough

Have you tried the mate DE?
I have i3 4150ps and 8GB RAM and it works perfectly.
The environment is fully customizable so that you can bring it to your measurements.
If you want, I help you set it up as you want.

I am currently trying to learn i3. Thanks for you approach :slight_smile:


I know you are looking for a DE but you are now using i3 which AFAIK is a WM.

I suggest you have another go at icewm. I installed icewm, pcmanfm, vlc, sakura, menumaker and leafpad.

I know a little bit of icewm…I also like keyboard shortcuts.
I have pcmanfm giving me a wallpaper and any icon I want from applications can go into Desktop so I am showing only 2 launchers.
My toolbar has some too…but all my common ones I use KB combos


Let me know if you are interested and I can start a new post with my tips etc.
BTW icewm also allows you to autostart apps and stuff too.

that menu…and a context menu use the nanoblue theme

$ top
top - 16:59:49 up 45 min,  1 user,  load average: 0.08, 0.17, 0.14
Tasks: 188 total,   1 running, 187 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
%Cpu(s):  0.3 us,  0.3 sy,  0.0 ni, 99.2 id,  0.1 wa,  0.1 hi,  0.0 si,  0.0 st
MiB Mem :   5880.1 total,   4354.8 free,    806.6 used,    718.7 buff/cache
MiB Swap:   8000.0 total,   8000.0 free,      0.0 used.   4805.4 avail Mem

from L to R…I have a start menu…minimise apps…window list (workspace list)
sakura web-browser text editor file-manager…4 workspaces …network applet
network activity …mem activity…cpu activity…local mail account…and a clock

The issue you have is not related with any DE.
Memory requirements for Android Studio is 8 GB or more. Then, it’s recommended to have 16 GB for Blender.
You are far to fulfill those requirements with your current system. It will be slow with any DE.

Just a word about XFCE, i wonder who the hell wrote it’s not lightweight. It’s 400 MB at boot, not more. It’s more on Manjaro comparing to other distros (as Arch or Xubuntu) because Manjaro team adds some useful services as matray, MSM notifier, update notifier, bluman and so on, and that’s fine like that.

The best you can do is adding RAM to your system, and choose the DE you want.
Again, i do not know which tasks you gonna do, but your CPU is not really powerfull for 3D creation.

xmonad uses about 100 MB of RAM, and dwm less than that. However you have to learn Haskell or C respectively to be able to use them. There are also ways you can lower KDE resource usage, like disabling the baloo file indexer.

good info but my reading is …

min 4 with 8G recommended

min 2G with GPU 1G …recommended 32G with GPU 4G

Sheesh…32G…WOW at least it seems to match the MS requirements

This is always better to trust another source than wikipedia, the official requirements for instance…

It’s not strictly manjaro but mabox is manjaro based. It’s extremely light and comes preconfigured so is simple to use. I tried it on an old potato and ran well