Has anyone done and actual test on DEs to see the system resources they actually use? Beyond that, what options are being sacrificed? It seems lxqt is very “lightweight,” but I really don’t like the way the environment functions. Conversely, I love the look and feel of CInnamon, but feel like it’s too bulky, and has a couple very odd quirks (really, can’t change monitor refresh rate?).
The Cinnamon install on this box is consuming 218.2M of RAM.
Plasma shell on my HTPC is using 130M.
Firefox is consuming 484.6M. I recall XFCE also being more lightweight than Firefox.
If you really want minimalism, switching your browsing habits will be far more effective than switching your desktop environment. A lightweight window manager will be lighter than every desktop environment because they do less. A heavy weight distro using a light desktop environment may also perform slower, because they tend to do more.
Starting minimal and adding only the things you use does more to slim down a system than using a lighter desktop environment.