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I'd like to test a few window managers to see which of them takes less memory and CPU in certain time period (so is better choice for older computers). I'd like to make the tests myself (not to read a review).

Could you please advise me:

  1. Which application for testing would you use to have precise results
  2. How would you use it (in case it isn't intuitive, e.g. choice of switches or settings)
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Following KISS principle, I'd just monitor free memory with free -m trying to run the same set of user apps for the same period of time. Just keep in mind, that 'cached' is actually free memory as well, so you need the 2nd line which shows what real used and free memory volumes are.

Regarding CPU — WMs usually don't hog CPU by themselves — they do that reacting to some user's actions, so you can benchmark creating/deleting lots of windows, moving them and so on.

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