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Fedora Core is easier to get going. If you get yum or apt running you don't have to deal with dependency hell. Loads of apps already have FC3 rpms out there so there is really little need for a gcc (although I would always have one). So far, I have not run into any hardware configuration issues on any system I have tried it on. (Ranging from Dell GXi to Dell GX280 also a bunch of home built machines). Hmmm...can't think of anymore but I'm sure there are.
Install it and give it a try. That way you will be able to make up your own mind if it's for you or not. Asking such a question will attract a lot of biase from those who like the distro (and those who don't).
You don't necessarily need swap if you have a reasonable amount of ram (some people won't agree with me), and in my opinion, that would be 512MB plus. I still use swap for those occassions that I run a multitude of GUI apps at the same time.