This is a link to an article titled, “Optimizing Linux for slow computers.” Note that this article links to this more thorough resource on archlinux.org.
Here are a couple of paragraphs from it:
When tuning a server, you'll really want to tweak for performance and high throughput. That's where most Linux configurations really shine over the competition: they come better tuned to get the most out of server configurations.
But in a Desktop you don't want that. For example, you're copying a 20GB file to your old USB thumb drive, or you're unzipping a large file, or you're compiling that large package from source, or you leave Dropbox in the background syncing gigabytes of files from their servers. Or you're doing "nothing" (in the foreground at least, but Gnome Tracker is heavily indexing your files in the background) and your environment stutters, hangs for a few seconds, and keeps doing that every so often.