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What is your hardware specifications ? Like cpu, memory, etc. If you don't have fast video card and a lot RAM then it is better to have some lightweight Window Manager, you can find info about them here. KDE(Desktop Environment) is heavy, now if you want speed you will love the Window Managers.
kde super stable and super fast with kubuntu low fat settings
Guys, i installed the kubuntu low fat settings and it has made a world of difference. kde is super fast and much stable. i have only 1gb RAM and processor 2.2 ghz, and kde now consumes only 200-400 mb and less than 10% on both processors.....do post any new suggestions too.
all my previous experiences with kde were flops.....the system was making a hell lot of noise and it was as hot as a hot plate (experiences: sabayon 4,5, open suse, netrunner kde)....but kubuntu with low fat settings is real good....i ve faced the same problems with my earlier amd mobile athlon 1.2 ghz desktop with 256mb ram...mandriva 2006, gOS all stuttered...
the present kde setup i have is way better than lxde linux mint 12.........
kde4 will work without much lag, that is, provided you don't use desktop effects and disable compositing altogether. Else, it will lag. The delay when hitting the menu (just a random example) will be noticeable even on a fast computer, even if it's by a small lapse, and that feels like something is wrong when you have a modern machine that would fly with anything else.
I am a kde fan so please, don't try to convince me how good kde is. I know its virtues but I am not blind.
You might be interested in raptor-qt, which is an alternate qt desktop. It's light and works ok with kwin and most kde pieces with almost no additional setup. It even handles policykit nowadays, which is good for removable devices and sessions handling. It's, basically, a way to get kde without plasma (which I never had an use for).
Bear in mind it has still some rough edges, since it's in its infancy. But it integrates well enough and seems promising.
It defaults to kwin as window manager, which means that most kde key bindings will still work. You can also configure it to start klipper, kmix, dropbox or whatever tray tools you use. The only thing I miss from kde is the device notification system, but you can manage that in dolphin anyway.
Of course, you can as well use it with any other wm of your choice.