Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (Maipo) , Linux kernel 3.10,GNOME 3.8,
Applications and Places menu on the top panel
Virtual consoles can be accessed by holding the Ctrl and Alt keys and pressing a function key between F1 and F6. Let’s take an example.
You can cycle through virtual consoles using the Crtl+Alt+F1 to F7 keys. Switching does not terminate the active login session. Each virtual console is independent and separate.
A GUI needs to use additional system resources to load the graphical part thus it is going to be slower than using the command line.