I've removed Mate/Cinnamon, and replaced it with LXDE, resulting in much faster performance, and less memory usage.
Lubuntu is Ubuntu with the LXDE interface as default. If you've already got Ubuntu installed, it's a piece of cake to remove GNOME/KDE, and replace them with LXDE or some other lightweight desktop environment.
Fancy desktop effects no longer appeal to me. A lot of people say Ubuntu is slow. No, GNOME 3 is the problem - Ubuntu's kernel (based on Debian) is actually very fast/efficiant.
same here. the first ubuntu version i used had still gnome 2 included and was fast and easily customizable. it went worse with every version. (a bit like windows, i remember a big xp themes section also in this board, on deviantart etc. and you could quite customize it, since win 7 the word customize means changing the colors of the window-frames and using a different wallpaper - ridiculous!)
and it became slow with unity. i think a dual core and 4 gb ram should be ennough to run a system fast and if not, then i wont upgrade the hardware but switch the system.
i will try today cinnarch, frugalware and porteus as they all look good to me. imho, it will be either gnome 2 or lxde for me. lets see.