It has many times occurred to me which terminal among the plethora of terminals at our disposal are the most efficient in terms of speed, memory consumption and ease of use. And I was of the opinion that the ubiquitous xterm was a likely candidate for a terminal with less memory footprint. Well I couldn't have been further from the truth.
It seems xterm is a very poor choice when selecting a terminal. Martin Ankerl benchmarked a number of terminals available in Linux including xterm, gnome-terminal, KDE konsole, wterm, eterm and aterm. And his findings indicate gnome-terminal and konsole as the best choice of terminals for its speed. And by speed I mean the speed of execution of commands in it and not the program's startup time. But the down side is that these two terminals consume a significant amount of memory. For example, Gnome-terminal is found to consume around 45 MB.
Martin states that he found wterm as the best bet for a low memory footprint with just 6.5 MB consumption. And it is sufficiently fast in executing. xterm loses in this department too with each instance consuming around 16 MB.
Do read the full benchmark details and also a nifty graph of his results.