I have a 1 month old, brand new laptop (thinkpad). It's basically the "reference" laptop to have for linux, and I installed ubuntu 12.10, super modern hardware.
I found it to be very slow out of the box. Is it the unity interface? Any way we can disable this completely?
Running calibre, eclipse, and chrome, and thunderbird would result in big time harddrive "thrashing" where there's constant activity.

I was thinking about buying an SSD simply b/c things were so slow.
On a whim I installed linux mint 14 (cinnamon desktop). I am not exaggerating when I say that it is literally 5 times as fast in every area.
I can run the aforementioned apps simultaneously without any problems. It's been a revelation.
My SSD purchase is on the back burner now.

I'm sure that the Unity interface has been a complaint and there's always going to be people who dislike change. Or maybe it's most people who dislike change.
But I found it quite hard as a newbie to know what is installed on the system vs what is not. The Unity interface requires you to know and remember what is on your
hard drive so you know what to search for, but there are many many times when I in fact do not know what has been pre-installed or even what I've installed before.

I know Ubuntu is the most popular distro, which is why I downloaded it first. But the speed issue was too much for me to bear as of 12.10.