I upgraded to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on this Laptop (Dell M90), it's been a little rough on the video card (Quadro FX 2500m). Unity and Gnome shell I think complicates it's working properly. Every now and then the whole screen becomes uncontrollable angular shapes. There is also the system crashes where the lights flash and the keyboard and mouse are unresponsive. Yes, I tried the regular video drivers and the Nvidia drivers, the results are the same. I only get the system error message on my desktop, but all this craziness on the laptop. I pulled a different hard drive out of another Dell M90 and loaded Mint on it. Swapping the drives on the same machine allows me to see if the install was a problem. Mint does not use Unity or Gnome 3 and the display is rock solid. I don't have the feeling of pending doom. I noticed something else, the laptop runs a little cooler, it seems Ubuntu works both the video card and the hard drive to death on this M90 laptop.
My point is this, Linux is Linux is Linux, BUT..... each development group that puts out a distribution of Linux tweaks it according to how they think it should go. When you try out a distro it may or may not perform well on your selection of hardware. AND.......you won't know that until you check it out. Perhaps there are some notes in a forum or comments by other users using the similar hardware as you. I always say mileage may vary, should work fine but maybe not optimum.
So, I'm going to say the problem with Ubuntu is Unity and Gnome Shell and my Quadro FX 2500 in this laptop. The desktop (Pentium 4) only gets the system error messages. If Mint gets the nod after I test all my graphics apps, then I will put it on the desktop also. I also installed WINE so that I can run Goggle Sketchup. It is a MS platform program, if it doesn't work I will put XP on the second drive, I might do that anyway. Now don't forget Mint is based on Ubuntu but it is minus Unity and Mint has it's own tweak of Gnome 3 shell, to tell you the truth, I am happy with the Cinnamon/Mate desktop just fine.