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This is the distro I use and recommend, Why because it works right out of the box. No need to configure Everything, everything just works. It also comes as a 1 CD install that is a live CD that you can install later if you wish.
I think per your specs that Kubuntu would be the first one you should try..
* It has a KDE desktop by default.
* It's modern, and looks nice
* Additional software is easily installed using the Synaptic GUI or from the command line with apt-get
* Lots of help for basic configuration and troubleshooting is quickly available through the Ubuntuguide
* There is a live version of Ubuntu available which would have the Gnome desktop, I dunno if Kubuntu has a live CD or not... Ubuntu and Kubuntu are the same except Ubuntu has Gnome and Kubuntu has KDE by default.
* Running Ubuntu under Parallels Desktop on a Mac and yet another how-to