In all cases, a hardware accelerated video driver is needed. The stock video driver was not sufficient on any Linux version I tried.
Getting that video driver installed can be a challenge, depending on your hardware. You are most likely to be successful if you have only one monitor. Having an nVidia GPU also improves your odds quite a bit over an ATI GPU; ATI support used to be better in Linux but seems to have degraded. I have found Ubuntu and its derivatives to be the best about finding/installing the appropriate drivers.
If you were switching to Linux, I would recommend burning an installation disc of every Linux platform you are willing to use. Then try installing them until you find the one that likes your hardware the best. At the end of the day, the one that works is the one you want.
This is the order that I would try them.
Xubuntu - Ubuntu, with a sane desktop. Regular Ubuntu has the new insane desktop. Xubuntu installed fine on VMware and my Alienware portable. The installer for regular Ubuntu crashed on my portable.
Mint - Their own Cinnamon desktop, Windows 7-ish with some of the polish of a Mac. Based on Ubuntu. Installed fine on VMware and my portable. Not recommended if you plan to dual-boot into Windows. Mint noticed my Windows 7 partition, which was reassuring, then proceeded to destroy it.
Fedora - New insane desktop. On VMware, the login screen is black but it runs fine after you fumble/login. Installed fine on my portable. UPDATE: After a couple of OS updates, the login screen is now just fine on VMware.
Debian - New insane desktop though desktop choices abound during install. Bricks my portable. VMware runs fine.
The default desktop is really irrelevant since it can be change after the OS is installed. The "new insane" desktop mentioned is that thing they did in the last few years, with the column of big buttons down the left side of the screen. I think it was a way of unifying the user interface between a PC and a tablet. My PC has a keyboard with 100+ keys, a mouse with a wheel and laser and multiple buttons, and a joystick with buttons and twistie things and knobs and of course the stick of joy. I am ok with using them. A tablet, on the other hand, can be operated by a person with only a finger or toe, their nose, or even just a stump of a limb. I love tablets but my PC is not a tablet. </rant>
Wait, where was I? Oh yeah...
If you have multiple monitors then Xinerama is the feature you want. It essentially unifies the screens of all of your monitors and treats them as one big monitor. Xubuntu was the only Linux version that I was able to get working with hardware accelerated graphics and Xinerama on my desktop PC. With all the others, it was one or the other but not both. I think all of them supported Xinerama with their stock drivers, which would be great if you were not going to play games.
Multiple monitors can be used without Xinerama. In that case, each screen is actually treated as a separate terminal. The mouse cursor is the only thing that can travel between them. You cannot drag windows from one to the other. This setup can support hardware accelerated graphics. This is how my desktop PC was running for the last few years because Xinerama got broken in the nVidia driver at some point. Now it works, by some miracle. I'd swear it didn't work the first time I tried to install Xubuntu 16.
A friend of mine told me an old French saying, "Why does a man beat his head against a wall? Because it feels so good to stop." Wise words, Jean.