Is Wayland more efficient

I’m trying to determine which technology is more power efficient: Wayland or Xorg on Ubuntu 20.04.

I’d also just like to use the technology that is going to become the dominant and primary method now, instead of trying to gently rip the band-aid off over time.

Until when there is “X on demand” fully working, you have always a slumbering server in the background which doesn’t help efficiency. Until then it will depend on your set of apps and even your hardware which play nicer with pure or with XWayland. We have seen both scenarios, thus there is no general rule of thumb.

Upstream GNOME is focussing more and more on Wayland/XWayland, thus the pure performance will not be looked at.

I’d use what works best for YOU (and not what others are implying). Personally I switched to Wayland 3 years ago and never looked back. The lack of Pipewire integration within Ubuntu will prevent you from using the fancy Remote Desktop functionalities, but personally I use that seldomly.

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I’d like to stick with Wayland as well, as it seems like a more elegant solution, and I support anything that helps to modernize Linux.

However, it does not seem to be good for battery life at the moment. I think that Ubuntu does not default to using it also speaks to it not being ready for prime time just yet.

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Ubuntu not defaulting to Wayland is about features, not performance or efficiency.

In theory, once enough bugs are solved, Wayland will be the more efficient option because in a Wayland session there is only one display server process. In a Xorg session there are effectively two display server processes and there will always be a roundtrip penalty for some things between the gnome-shell and Xorg processes. But while using legacy apps that only support Xorg (like Chrome/Chromium) you also have the two process problem in Wayland, as it has to run Xwayland.

In practice, Wayland is feeling faster to me right now. But I’m suspicious as to whether there are any bugs in Xorg sessions making those slower, or if we’ve actually started to reach the endgame for Wayland over Xorg.

Also keep in mind that a display server maintaining a lower frame rate will sometimes be more power efficient, even though that’s a bug. But we don’t aim for power efficiency as the primary goal. The primary goal is to maintain maximum frame rate. So yes maybe the smoother performing option will use more power.


So then Wayland’s non-default status is more about compatibility than efficiency.

I would totally agree that Wayland feels faster. I read a bit about wayland and how it is being implemented, and I’d agree that it should be the more efficient method. However until software supports it, it will require a ‘legacy’ layer that will continue to bog down.

Thank you for your reply. It is greatly appreciated, and great work on 20.04.

You all have made someone who was a staunch Windows developer see the promise of a system that isn’t trying to exploit you and with a system that’s coupled with Proton and Wine gives you the best of both worlds.

Gnome wayland doesn’t quite work right on nvidia setups and currently screen sharing is a problem to name 2 things.

Running wayland on ryzen 5 3600u amd radeon graphics so much more smother faster and it was already good on X11 ubuntu 20.04 thanks wayland . no problems so far. yet to try wine.

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Have you tried with the AMDGPU-PRO driver?

For me the open source driver works fine but as soon as I install proprietary one or OpenCL I get horrible screen tearing and crashes on Wayland session on my AMD machine.