Tips to improve KDE 4 compositing performance

Before 4.0 i loved KDE. Since 4.0 I switched to Gnome. But lately, after half a year of exposure to Unity and Gnome 3 and jumping from one to the other, I could no longer resist the temptation to try and see if KDE has been fixed. And the reason is I could never really say Unity was good, and.. Gnome 3 sucks.

The point is, KDE is good again, and the only thing that can ruin the experience are all the effects that are enabled by default when using 3D compositing. Probably not noticeable with powerful processors, but on netbooks or older ones like my Athlon x2 4800 things can get really choppy, even more so with ATI graphics. Good news is, you can significantly improve the performance without noticeable eye candy loss.

  1. Disable Blur in System Settings -> Desktop Effects -> All Effects
  2. Uncheck “Use VSync” in System Settings -> Desktop Effects -> Advanced
  3. Set Scale method to Smooth or Crisp in System Settings -> Desktop Effects -> Advanced
  4. In System Settings -> Application appearance -> Style -> Fine tuning tab -> Set graphical effects to “Low display resolution and low CPU”.
Additionally, disable widget animations and window decorations’ animations:
  1. Press alt+f2 and enter oxygen-settings
  2. In Widget style -> Animations unselect “Enable animations”
  3. In Window decorations -> General unselect “Enable animations”
After all this, KDE with compositing will be noticeably faster and usable… Hope it helped!
Found this info in a few places on different occasions:

How to install KDE on Windows

There’s a smallish bug in the KDE installer for Windows – there are no working mirrors on the proposed list, and consequently releases list will always be empty. Fortunately, a working mirror’s URL can be found on the mailing lists:

As I’m writing this, Amarok is playing my music, and Umbrello is waiting for me to continue editing some class diagrams.

What’s also nice, or rather sad, depends on the way you look at it, KDE apps work better for me in Windows than in Linux. Probably just a matter of Kwin and ATI drivers hating each other and thus providing a sluggish UI experience with lots of low framerate moments and lag…

As with most Windows software, there’s no 64 bit version, or at least I couldn’t find it. And though, it doesn’t matter much in terms of usability, it’s just a fact.  🙂