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Most of the commentards just react to keywords in the article. Oh, GNOME3 was mentioned - so let's discuss GNOME3 and its dumbed down GUI...
I have an Arch install at home and Debian Wheezy at work. Arch works extremely fast - it's GUI reacts almost as fast as old Windows XP. Same GTK apps at my office, where I have Debian installed, work noticeably slow, probably due to buddy opensource radeon drivers in conjunction with GTK 3.4 - I physically feel how "lightweight" gedit redraws the text area. (I ended up using KDE software and Oracle-built Java - somehow it works faster). Why am I telling you this? Because I have tried different distros in search of better speed/simplicity ratio, I just don't want to spend another 20 hours to configure perfect Arch install.
I have tried several ditstros, Fedora 20 among them. Fedora 20 works fast and responsive, has almost last kernel (3.11), works extremely snappy - I have installed Fedora 20 XFCE on my son's laptop which has SINGLE CORE cpu + AMD Gpu and it works *considerably faster* than Debian wheezy XFCE on my quad-core, 4 GB ram Debian at office!
So the bottom line, for ones that made it here, is: try Fedora 20, it's modern, it has latest and _fastest_ version of FOSS packages, it installs in minutes and it feels really snappy.