Gtk Engines Benchmarks – What’s the fastest?

There is a program that benchs every kind of gtk engine…

The name is GTKPERF.

Have you ever asked: “What’s the fastest gtk engine?” (in everyday actions…)

I used gtkperf to bench some of the most famous gtk engines:

  • Clearlooks (from gnome-themes-svn)
  • Nodoka
  • Human (from Ubuntu)
  • Murrine (thanks to CIMI (like new Clearlooks) :))
  • Aurora
  • Mac4Lin
  • Clearlooks Classic
  • Crux
  • Glossy
  • Glider
  • Mist
  • Nova
  • Simple
  • ThinIce
  • Rezlooks (gilouche)
  • Industrial
  • Experience
  • QtCurve
  • Bluecurve
  • Mythbuntu

Updated with xfce-gtk-engines

  • Xfce
  • Xfce-4.0
  • Xfce-4.2
  • Xfce-b5
  • Xfce-basic
  • Xfce-cadmium
  • Xfce-curve
  • Xfce-dawn
  • Xfce-dusk
  • Xfce-kde2
  • Xfce-kolors
  • Xfce-light
  • Xfce-orange
  • Xfce-redmondxp
  • Xfce-saltlake
  • Xfce-smooth
  • Xfce-stellar
  • Xfce-winter

My Pc:

  • Athlon64 3000+ @ 2300 Mhz
  • 1 Gb RAM
  • Nvidia 7600GT (169.09)
  • ArchLinux with kernel: 2.6.24-zen3
(See Pages numbers on the right to change pages)

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39 responses to “Gtk Engines Benchmarks – What’s the fastest?”

  1. dosnlinux says :

    What about the Xfce-gtk-engine?

  2. gianvito says :

    Ok… I will try as soon as possible to add xfce gtk engines…

  3. gianvito says :

    Updated with xfce engines

  4. Cimi says :

    Nodoka is almost murrine engine with a different name (Nodoka), its performance are nearly the same.
    If you chose a Murrine theme with rounded borders, you’ll see it.

    By the way, the problem is not on +1second, -1second etc etc… the thing is that Aurora, for example, is exactly twice slower than murrine with small roudness :)
    This will be noticeable when using many windows.

  5. gianvito says :

    Talking about nodoka… i added it to the test because it is part of Fedora… I wanted to give a general purpose to the test…
    However… We all know Murrine is a great engine… It combines beauty and speed together :)…
    Aurora is handsome to see… but it has to do more if it wants to be a very usable engine… especially on old machines

  6. pibarnas says :

    What about rezlooks gtl-engine???

  7. gianvito says :

    Updated with rezlooks engine

  8. dosnlinux says :

    Here’s some more.

    You got most of them, but I think you’re missing eXperience-engine, and gtk-industrial-engine. There may be others.

  9. gianvito says :

    Updated with experience & industrial engines

  10. neri says :

    this is an interesting benchmark, however when it comes to gtk-engines I’m all about stability. I have seen so many engines causing crashes of applications in weird spots. In many cases these engines use cairo_* function calls, where as engines with native gtk calls like xfce seem to be less error prone. I don’t blame it on the engine entirely, in many cases that might be caused by some intercation of libraries. So I’m surprised to see that xfce engine is actually that fast because it is also very very stable! I say that out of the experience of closing bugs in ArchLinux with: “Use another gtk engine and you’ll be fine.”

  11. stavrosg says :

    No wonder why the Xfce Engines yield all the same results; (a nanosecond here and there is in the area of statistical error) They are different colour schemes for the same engine (gtk-xfce-engine).

    So you could just leave all but one out and spare a whole page from the article :)

  12. stavrosg says :

    (Whoops… I was looking at the tests visible on the window, and not the total time)
    Interesting how different colours & sprites affect performance.

    Can you please add charts for each individual test?
    Or just a csv file with the data would do, too.


  13. gianvito says :

    Excuse me I didn’t understood what you want to say…
    What do I have to add to the chart to every individual engine test?

  14. gianvito says :

    Post updated

    Nodoka —–>
    Added charts to gtk-engines and xfce-gtk-engines pages

  15. Chris says :

    How about testing QtCurve for GTK? I’ve found this engine to be extremely fast, on par with Simple and Mist!

  16. gianvito says :

    Post updated

    Nodoka —-> 0.7 version
    Added QtCurve (@Chris)

  17. anung says :

    thnx man..
    this is very usefull

  18. Iain says :

    Why not 1) sort the graph by time (it doesn’t seem to be sorted at all right now) and 2) label each bar with number of seconds? I’m not sure what software you’re using, but it ought to be feasible.

  19. urfe says :

    Hi gianvito,

    you should test the Bluecurve engine. Fastest on my system (Q9450).


  20. urfe says :

    You should do the following test: modify the Nodoka engine, find the definition (‘engine “nodoka”‘) and replace it with something like this:

    engine “nodoka”
    animation = FALSE
    contrast = 1.0
    gradients = FALSE
    listviewheaderstyle = 0
    listviewstyle = 1
    menubarstyle = 0
    roundness = 0
    scrollbarstyle = 2
    stripes = FALSE

    I get 5.3 sec. after the modifications (removing gradients and setting the roundness of the buttons to 0 (none)), 10.8 before.

    The roundness of the buttons is the key performance factor in this tests.

  21. Anonim Anonimatuum says :

    And MythBuntu engine?

  22. gianvito says :

    Post updated (sorry for the long time i’ve missed here)

  23. Comprar Cialis says :

    Excellent blog. good luck.

  24. Jon says :

    Have you just ran the perf program once per theme? It would be interesting to run it 100s of times, perhaps at different warm points in operation, with swap and caches cleared, etc. and take averages.

  25. gianvito says :

    New post…
    10 times each themes with averages… (100 is too much :D)

  26. Леонид says :


  27. kirilich says :

    Never give in to adversity

  28. puneet says :

    How about Candido engine? (

    It’s also there in ArchLinux repos

  29. klemowich says :

    hcengine : High Contrast Engine
    used in the high contrast ‘accessibility’ themes.
    Would be interesting to see how it compares.

  30. Gus says :

    It’s funny that Aurora in my computer “feels” the fastest of all?

  31. arpent says :

    What with GTK3 now ?

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