For the past few months I've been working with a new client that does not allowed personal hardware to be plugged into their network. They provide the hardware for their consultants and employees to use.
The only computer they had available for me was a laptop with great specs (five years ago), 1 GB of RAM, and a 1.6 Gz (single core, but I think it goes without saying) processor.
On this laptop I've had to run NetBeans, alongside with JBoss or GlassFish (one of the projects I'm working on uses JBoss another one uses GlassFish).
I've always had the fortune of having access to fairly modern hardware, and although I had heard complaints about NetBeans performance, it was always good on the hardware I had available. This situation gave me an opportunity to use NetBeans in, let's just say, "less than ideal" hardware.
What I have noticed is that NetBeans takes a very long time to initialize, but once it does, it works fine, for the most part. The most noticeable annoyance I have seen is that opening files via the "SHIFT+ALT+O" shortcut is slow, many times I finish typing the file name before the list to pick from pops up.
Even with substandard hardware, for the most part I've found that NetBeans performs fairly well.