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[OCLUG-Tech] Choosing a 64-bit Linux distro for my laptop

Good afternoon, everyone. I have an older, not-exactly stock Dell Inspiron
1501 (AMD 64-bit CPU, 4G RAM and a 120G SSD) that I want to use for general
purpose computing and for ingesting a bunch of video from older VHS and
MiniDV tapes.  I have a USB RCA adapter and a FireWire PCExpress card to
help with this.

Believe it or not, I cannot successfully install Ubuntu (various
versions) on it.  It not only does not recognize the Broadcom wifi adapter,
it has some deep-seated hatred of it.  I get kernel panics whenever the OS
tries to load modules for it, and I have made numerous attempts to fix this
with no joy.  Google inspiron 1501linux wireless and see that I'm not alone
(and I'm a pretty seasoned Linux guy.)  I must have tried everything
suggested in the first five pages of search results.

Is there anyone on the list who can suggest a good disto to try anew.  I
have used Debian-based distros for a loooong time, but I am wide open to
trying anything Debian-based, or not.  The laptop is bare metal now.
Perhaps there is something nifty out there that is worth a shot.  BTW, I
would rather not go the Slackware/Gentoo BIY route.