I have a lot of RAM, granted, but I don't find that it uses considerably more RAM than GNOME or Windows (Windows 7 is a real hog). If I only had a gig of RAM, I think it would still run fine. In fact, I ought to do a test and set the kernel command line to limit RAM to 1 gig and see how things run. If you have less than a gig, then yes, KDE will be slow and bloated. Then again, it's 2012. If you have less than a gig of RAM, buy a new computer or just use the lighter-weight, but lower functionality DEs. There's nothing wrong with them. They just don't do as much or look as pretty as KDE.
Originally Posted by Prescience500
I disabled nepomuk and akonadi in my KDE install. They were taking up a lot of resources. Without them running, everything is very snappy. Maybe that's the OP's problem?
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