I run a 4 server/2 desktop environment, my hardware is a little dated and this is my configuration:
Ubuntu Server /w Kubuntu Desktop Installed (for remote ssh use) 12.04 LTS (x64)
All Machines have Dual CPUs, each a Intel Core2 Duo 3.2Ghz -ish
Each has about 80GB SCSI hard disk space, ranging from 2-6GB of ram
Graphics Built-on Crappy Radeon 1st generation originally for windows 2003
No Sound, but I installed the ALSA PC-Speaker PCM device and get sound that way (works good, and it's pretty loud)
Network Interfaces are all at 1 GigaBit (dual) and are using the Bus-Wired-Bus
style of physical network layout (Ethernet cat5)
The first server on the bus is the Web Server (apache 2 + drupal 6)
The last 3 are combination local or remote tunnel (ssh -X) workstations
They are super-responsive, the website gets about 20-80 connections max at a time
Kubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, note the LTS and the .1 x64
Graphics: PCIX Radeon x1950, OpenGL 1.2 only :( but still works good
HDD: 500GB Seagate SATA, DVD-RAM/RW CPU: Dual Core Intel 3.7Ghz x64
Sound: SB Audigy2/LiveDrive Periphrials: Keyboard, Mouse, Joystick
The above configuration gives me less than 1-second latency on clicks over ssh (i use 'xinit /usr/bin/ssh -X myhost /usr/bin/startkde -- :1 vt12' to start my session over the network which takes advantage of the server's speed and my local hardware. This is much better for me than vnc or rdp[win]. To keep things running good after setting it all up, there are a few things I keep in mind when using Ubuntu (or any derivative thereof):
- stick with either the most recent xx.04.1 LTS, so when they released 14.04 LTS, I was still using 12.04.1, because IMO I dont trust a release until it's had some road test time, that goes triple for servers.
- I never use wildcards when using apt-get if I am not TOTALLY sure that it wont bloat the system and make irreversible changes.
- I ALWAYS backup daily, my apt logs for safe keeping 4- I NEVER upgrade my kernel if it works just fine and always make sure I know what the kernel I am installing is intended for (ie, dont just install goldfish that will severely slow your desktop down :))
- Refrain from compiling software (not installing it unless i MUST, and if I do, make sure it goes to /usr/local, not /usr, and commercial software in /opt) using package manager instead and stick with one package manager (dont mix aptitude and software-center, muon-discover, etc)
- Make sure I take a snapshot of my home directory before major changes
- always use per-user settings and avoid /etc and such files like the plague if possible (not editing /etc/bash.bashrc instead of ~/.bashrc)
- Always reboot with M-SYSRQ-(R,E,I)S,U,B if the system hangs
- Use tftp or sftp instead of nfs
- dont use mysql server and other heafty daemons unless i really need it (i keep just one on my web server) and finally,
- finally, never enable the root account for login, and do all root commands using sudo and avoid the 'sudo su' command unless i need it bad enough
As far as installing, I ALWAYS install the Ubuntu Server first, then I install a package called 'kubuntu-desktop' and that does the rest. There are meta packages for the others too. I STRONGLY avoid mixing desktop/window managers because they don't play nice alot of the time (like Ubuntu, KDE, Gnome) and this is the same for the compositors (kwin, compiz, etc)
For me, this all works great, I've found Ubuntu to not work for me lately (after version 12.10, that is) because of some change does not like my graphics card and has problems, whats worse is with Unity8, which does not work period at this time for me. This may be different for you since you have a better system.
This is just my setup, your faster system should scream on that kind of setup since it is so much faster than my desktop system. I am not sure but maybe also try the low-latency kernel however I dont know if it is really that much faster, i only noticed a diff with Ubuntu Studio which uses it by default. (XFCE is pretty fast)
As far as Linux Mint is concerned, I had to hack the install disc just to get it to boot up right, and it has issues (at least 17 did) for me. I have also used Fedora and while it is nice, It is very alien to me (redhat/ubuntu pun intended!! get it?) and I'm too used to [k]ubuntu to switch for now. I can't vouch for the other millions of distros out there. I do know CentOS above is not based on Debian (its redhat) but Mint is basically derivative of ubuntu.
Of course, using lxde-core is good - personally I have used lxde-common and it has been my best fit, i use chrome as well, but also use firefox sometimes when it gets greedy. I have better luck with the official chrome than i did with chromium browser (it was really slow for me).
So now I hope this helps either you or someone elses question since this was asked little less than a year ago.