I've got Xubuntu 12.04 and Arch installed on my system at the moment. It's a C2D laptop with Intel GMA3000 graphics and 4GB ram. I've been having some stability issues with both Thunar and PCmanFM, plus some graphical corruption in Draftsight and Skype, and the file managers seem to have some reliance on the desktop environment.
I attempted to try KDE on Xubuntu which installed a lot of crud, filling up the main menu in XFCE to the point of being unusable and I ended up reinstalling from backup. KDE also seemed painfully slow but I liked the layout to a point.
So question is, is there a quick and easy way to try the diffent DE's, only installing the necessary components to make the experience smooth and keeping new menu entries to a minimum?
Is anybody also aware of any decent reviews/test labs for current desktop environments on the whole? I would prefer lightweight options