I have been using Xfce very happily for several weeks, since installing openSUSE 12.2. I generally use a Samsung Syncmaster SA350 in lieu of the laptop screen. Last night I decided to try to tweak the display, for my eyes were tired. The end result is much worse than the starting point (which was bad enough).
Text lacks sharpness, both in window tiles and icons, and within applications (e.g. Kile, Kate, gedit and so on). I've been in and out of Settings Manager many times, and I am bamboozled by exotic possibilities such as "Hinting" and Sub-pixel order (fiddling there has bought me no gains). I am using Droid Sans 12font, with anti-aliasing enabled, but it isn't very nice (I found nothing better). The response to changing the "Style" is bewildering - sometimes a change is immediate, sometimes not. I'm on "Raleigh" at the moment but have sampled them all. I've played with Custom DPI settings, but have that unchecked for now.
I was using a friend's Dell with Windows 8 for a while today, and in terms of the visual clarity or preciseness of the text it was very much superior -- it was what one expects. It was satisfactory. It was pleasing. I think perhaps the best descriptor is "crisp." My setup is very much not crisp.
Can anyone suggest a combination of settings I might try? Thanks, John