I tried Linux Mint 14 Xfce 32 bit (both live cd and installed) on a 3 years old gateway netbook with an ATI Radeon x1270 GPU and shared video memory. I am able to log in and do a bit of work. However, after several minutes the screen starts to show some random colored squares and lines and it slowly gets garbled to the point that it becomes unreadable. I reboot the netbook and log in again and the story repeats. Same story with mint cinnamon 14, ubuntu (11, 12.04, 12.10), fedora 17 and 18, just that the garbling happens quicker. Also, running videos from youtube or attempting to access the street view from google maps (both using the flash plugin) garble the screen almost immediately. Scrolling does that too.
To me it looks like a video driver issue. Note, I can run the same distros on another (6 years old) laptop with ATI Radeon x1300, and that one seems ok. Does anyone know what driver may work with x1270, or how to configure the open source one to make it more stable? I checked the ATI site and they say that I should install a much older version of the catalyst driver which runs only on something like ubuntu 8 or older (that sounds kind of strange to me, cuz this netbook is not an old machine). Or maybe another linux distro that is more likely to work with my Radeon? Any help greatly appreciated. Thank you.