I’ll be doing Linux soon.. help me

In the ongoing laptop saga…

Windows XP is trashed. No networking at all. So I need to backup. My best solution has been to move up the plans I had for a summer upgrade to a Thanksgiving upgrade (who says only your tummy gets full on the holiday?)

Here’s the plan:
Get a much faster HD. Specs include 7200 RPM Drive, and 60 GB. Fastest 2.5″ drive on the market. By far.

Put current drive in UltraBay, with 2nd Hard Drive Adapter for Thinkpad, Take new Drive, and put in HD bay.

Copy my data over, with a fresh install of XP.

Use Rapid Restore as backup software (included with Thinkpad).

Format old 40 GB Drive, and install Linux.

Now my question for all is:

What distro?

Fedora, Gentoo, Mandrake, Debinan, SuSe, SlackWare

I’m looking to use it as an alternative desktop. I’m an OS X Lover, so you want to impress me 😆 Want it all, the absolute best. Some UNIX experience, and want more. So tell me what you like/don’t like. Your opinions are more than welcome, feel free to email, or use comments. Make your case.

I’ll tell what I choose, why, and the status as I go. Should be fun.