There is a new revision of this tutorial available for Linux Mint 17.1 (Rebecca).
The Perfect Desktop - Linux Mint 3.1 "Celena" FE - Page 2
2 Clean It
2.1 Remove Software
Before you are going to update the system for the first time you should check if there is software installed that you don't need, or rather that you want to replace with another software. The goal should be a clean system with only the programs installed that you really need.
Which programs you should deinstall or replace with others is up to you - you'll find a summary of already installed software at step 3 and a little assortment of additional software (including replacements for already installed software) at step 5.
You can simply deinstall software with the Synaptic Package Manager - have a look at step 4.1. Afterwards it's time for the first update - have a look at step 4.3.
2.2 Disable Services
Some services are enabled by default on your System - maybe some of them are needless (depending on your hardware and your needs). The deactivation of needless services will save system resources, so it's worth to take a look on the service settings.
The settings for services are available via the gnome menu in the bottom left corner.
When you click on the button a popup will be shown that is asking for your password.
After you entered your password the window with the service settings appears.
Some services that you should check:
Bluetooth device management (bluetooth) - disable this service if there is no bluetooth device attached in your system or if you don't want to use it.
Printer service (hplip) - disable this service if there is no Hewlett Packard device (printer, scanner, fax or all-in-one) attached in your system.
Speech synthesis support (festival) - disable this service if you don't want to convert contents of a text file into voice.
You can disable services simply by unmarking the corresponding checkboxes.
2.3 Reduce Power Consumption
With Powertop, a tool from Intel for Intel Platforms, you are able to find what software is using the most power on your system. Especial notebook users will benefit from reduced power consumption - there will be more time left on battery power.
First we have to install powertop. Open http://www.getdeb.net/download.php?release=1357&fpos=0 within firefox and install powertop with the GDebi Package Manager.
Afterwards you can run powertop within a terminal. It's recommended to run it as the root-user, otherwise can't use all the features of this tool.
Run powertop with root privileges:
Powertop will permanent collect data from the system. In intervals it shows you what is using the most power and at the same time how you can optimize your system. In certain cases powertop is able to optimize the system itself if you hit the key that is shown. See the picture below (taken on Fedora 7 running on an ASUS G1S) for example.
It's not improbable to save a few watts.