I have been using the standard Ubuntu Linux with the GNOME interface for a while with my small eeeBox.
The Atom processor got exhausted rather fast just running a browser, chat client and satellite tracking program.
Switch the desktop from Gnome to XFce, a lightweight desktop environment, and bingo, things run faster and the processor does not run into the 100% barrier. Looks like I will configure the XFce a bit, but that is a small price to pay for some speed.
Of course – it does not look as sleek as the other desktop, but I want functionality, not eye candy.