Joined the forum to post this. Finally I can contribute to my fave distro! Post is a bit long (sorry!)
Happy to say that everything works out of the box for my Compaq Presario C552US laptop!
1.6 GHz Intel Celeron M 520 (Basically a L2-reduced "Merom" Core 2 Solo)
1.5 GB 667MHz DDR2 RAM
10 gig-(ish) partition on my 80GB 5600 rpm SATA HDD. The rest is for *gasp* Windows 7.
Intel 945GM chipset with 64-256MB (Windows says 256 max, Hackintosh says 64MB) GMA 950 graphics.
I used a 4GB PQI USB thumb drive to install Mint. (My combo drive is busted) Install probably went faster than installing using a 56x drive.
Compiz works like a charm! (all of the effects I want enabled)
I've tried playing Torcs, Frets on Fire and Nexuiz. Nexuiz on even the lowest settings struggles on frame rate. Torcs struggles too if there are too many cars on the vicinity. Frets is on par with the Windows version. Will definitely try more games and will find a way to optimize the Intel Graphics (I've read in Ubuntu Forums that Intel gfx performance in 9.04 < 8.04)
Feels a lot zippier compared to Windows 7.
Mint, IMO performance-wise, is on par with a clean WinXP SP3 install. (and Mint looks a lot prettier and a lot more usable, GUI-wise)
My dad was having problems with Ubuntu but wanted an Ubuntu distro so I recommended Mint 7 to him. Just installed it on an old X-series ThinkPad.
I think it has an 800MHz Mobile Pentium for a CPU.
It has 384MB of RAM.
Installed it using an 8.8GB partition. 600MB for swap.
Used a pretty slow CD-ROM drive. Install took 10 minutes.
First impressions on his laptop:
I agree with the others that GNOME isn't the best for the old computers. Loading even simple menus was sluggish. Once Mint XFCE is out of RC I might recommend it for him.