Some time ago I tried quite a few different window managers on my main debian box and openbox is superior for my needs. Currently I use plain openbox without a standard desktop environment. I like both the simplicity and the improved responseiveness.
If you never used openbox before give it a try. It is also the default window manager for the lxde desktop environment.
This great blog helped me a lot with the first steps:
and the official webpage:
programs I use with my plain openbox setup:
- tint2 (panel)
- kupfer (launcher)
- conky (displays systeminformation as desktop background)
- terminal with screen and mc
- rhythmbox (music player)