I'm thinking about installing Linux on my HP Probook 4530s. It has an i3-2310m, 4GB memory, Intel HD 3000 graphics, Realtek Ethernet, Atheros AR9285 Wifi + Bluetooth, JMicron SD Card Reader, HP Webcam (720p), and a Crucial M4 64 GB SSD. I hear Linux has poor driver support for some hardware so I hope I can get everything working properly without using slow generic drivers.
Right now I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate x64 which I got for free (MSDN) and it runs beautifully, but want to learn Linux and be able to tweak everything (I'm planning to be either a Computer Engineer or a Systems Administrator after I graduate so knowing Linux will be a plus). I've tried Ubuntu on it which was okay, but kinda sluggish and it came loaded with a lot of crap/bloat (I can remove stuff, but I'd prefer something that's a cleaner from the start). I'm pretty inexperienced with Linux so what do you guys recommend for a lightweight beginner distro? I know there's Ubuntu derivatives like Xubuntu and Lubuntu, and then Linux Mint and Linux Mint Debian Edition, though I've never tried any of these.
Also, does Linux support TRIM and align the SSD properly?
Sorry if I'm too picky and gave too much background info. Thanks!
Edit: I'm basically looking for a stable distro with a lightweight desktop, little to no pre-installed software, and that isn't too daunting for a beginner. I'll probably move to Arch once I'm comfortable with Linux.
Edited by Ecstacy - 11/13/12 at 6:21pm