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Memory Usage of Distros

Moss Bliss

Each distro uses RAM differently. How much memory your computer has, and how much your distro uses, are key components in selecting a distro, one which is often overlooked.

I have (and have had) several machines. I have run gobs of distros on each one. There are several programs in Linux which can measure RAM usage, some of which are available for all Linux distros. For the purposes of this article, I have used neofetch.

I have gone into each, with the machine booted at rest and with nothing running except what the distro loads at boot (which may include things you have added, such as Slimbook Battery), opened a Terminal program, and run the neofetch command.

The following file lists my results, with the key below, divided by RAM usage and alpha by distro name. (The terms in parentheses indicate which computer the test was run on, with a key below the table.)

By Size
Bodhi 5.1 (Mini) 269 MiB
Bodhi 5.1 (Z400) 269 MiB
Bodhi 6 RC (Dell) 281 MiB
Bodhi 5.1 (Kudu) 292 MiB
Bodhi 6 RC (Kudu) 329 MiB
ExLight 2021.1 (Kudu) 340 MiB
Endeavour OS (Z400) 360 MiB
Bodhi 6 Beta (Z400) 366 MiB
Peppermint 10 (Mini) 368 MiB
Peppermint 10 (Kudu) 411 MiB
Lubuntu 21.04 (Kudu) 461 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Z400) 469 MiB
PCLinuxOS 2020.10 MATE (Kudu) 483 MiB
Lubuntu 20.10 (Kudu) 486 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 21.04 (Z400) 490 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 (Mini) 513 MiB
SolydX 2021 (Dell) 522 MiB
Mageia 8 XFCE (Dell) 526 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 (Z400) 557 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Dell) 560 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Dell) 562 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Z400) 590 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 (Kudu) 601 MiB
Linux Mint 20 MATE (Mini) 603 MiB
Emmabuntus DE3 LXQt (Kudu) 606 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Kudu) 619 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Kudu) 626 MiB
Mageia 8 Plasma (Kudu) 689 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Z800) 691 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Z400) 698 MiB
Manjaro 20.2 Cinnamon (Mini) 721 MiB
Robolinux 12 MATE (Kudu) 754 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Dell) 794 MiB
Feren OS 2021.01 (Kudu) 811 MiB
Pop!_OS 20.10 (Kudu) 822 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Kudu) 826 MiB
Ubuntu Unity 21.04 (Kudu) 815+ MiB
Manjaro 20.2 Cinnamon (Kudu) 906 MiB
Ubuntu Unity 20.04 (Mini) 941 MiB
Ubuntu Web 20.04 (Kudu) 1137 MiB
By Name
Bodhi 5.1 (Mini) 269 MiB
Bodhi 5.1 (Z400) 269 MiB
Bodhi 5.1 (Kudu) 292 MiB
Bodhi 6 RC (Dell) 281 MiB
Bodhi 6 RC (Kudu) 329 MiB
Bodhi 6 Beta (Z400) 366 MiB
Emmabuntus DE3 LXQt (Kudu) 606 MiB
Endeavour OS 2021 (Z400) 360 MiB
ExLight 2021.01 (Kudu) 340 MiB
Feren OS 2021.01 (Kudu) 811 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Z400) 469 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Dell) 560 MiB
Linux Mint 20 MATE (Mini) 603 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Kudu) 619 MiB
Linux Mint 20.1 MATE (Z800) 691 MiB
Lubuntu 20.10 (Kudu) 486 MiB
Lubuntu 21.04 (Kudu) 461 MiB
Mageia 8 XFCE (Dell) 526 MiB
Mageia 8 Plasma (Kudu) 689 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Kudu) 826 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Z400) 698 MiB
MakuluLinux LinDoz 2021 (Dell) 794 MiB
Manjaro 20.2 Cinnamon (Mini) 721 MiB
Manjaro 20.2 Cinnamon (Kudu) 906 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 (Mini) 513 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 (Z400) 557 MiB
OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 (Kudu) 601 MiB
PCLinuxOS 2020.10 MATE (Kudu) 483 MiB
Peppermint 10 (Mini) 368 MiB
Peppermint 10 (Kudu) 411 MiB
Pop!_OS 20.10 (Kudu) 822 MiB
Robolinux 12 MATE (Kudu) 754 MiB
SolydX 2021 (Dell) 522 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Dell) 562 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Z400) 590 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 20.10 (Kudu) 626 MiB
UbuntuDDE Remix 21.04 (Z400) 490 MiB
Ubuntu Unity 20.04 (Mini) 941 MiB
Ubuntu Unity 21.04 (Kudu) 815+ MiB
Ubuntu Web 20.04 (Kudu) 1137 MiB

My machines:
2014 System76 (Kudu) 3, i7-6700HQ, 16 Gb RAM, 1 Tb SSD
2014 Gigabyte (Mini) Box, 4th Gen i3, 16 Gb RAM, 512 Gb SSD (retired)
2010 HP (Z400) Workstation, Xeon W3565, 16 Gb, 512 Gb SSD
2010 HP (Z800) Workstation, dual Xeon X5570, 24 Gb RAM, 1 Tb HD
2016 (Dell) Inspiron 7353 2-in-1, i5-6200U, 8 Gb RAM, 128 Gb SSD

+ Every time I ran neofetch on Ubuntu Unity the number was higher than the last time. The lowest number is reported

Of course, how much RAM is used when you load your browser (and how many tabs) or other programs will also vary from distro to distro, but the ones which manage RAM better probably are the ones which boot with better RAM management.

This article will be updated with new information. First post 04/26/2021

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