First of all I'd like to introduce myself!
My name is Vinny and I'm 'new' into the Linux world. I say 'new' between quotes because I tried to use a few distros years ago, but unfortunately it didn't go well (at least I touched some distros and knew how to dualboot, install them, etc) The problems were drivers and incompatibility.
Some days ago I decided to give Linux a chance again, since my Windows was driving me nuts when it comes to performance and security and I love the feeling of freedom and opensource. I don't know much about Linux, such as commands and/or how the system actually works, I only know some differences, like when a distro is based on Ubuntu, Slackware, etc or something about graphic interfaces (at least what I like and what I don't). I do prefer clean interfaces.
Well, let's get to the point:
I have an Inspiron Core i5/8gb laptop (Click here to see full specs)
which has switchable graphic cards and I want to dualboot Linux/Windows on it. (Yes, I need Windows because of SolidWorks and I don't want to use virtual emulation due to performance loss). By researching on the internet for weeks, reading reviews, watching 'hands on' videos, I decided that I want either Mint Linux or Elementary OS. I do know the difference between both and the lack of apps of Elementary, but it really cought my attention. Well, I downloaded both and booted via USB stick. Elementary worked out of the box, no issues with sound, wifi, video (at least I didn't try to switch). When I tried Mint Linux, everything worked fine in the first minutes, then the system crashed. I tried again, crashed. Mint was crashing and lagging a lot (small freezes, glitches) every time. Also, I noticed the cooler was going nuts, super loud and the laptop was getting warmer and warmer (I was only browsing in the internet and testing system apps). I googled and I found people same problems with this laptop using Mint and Ubuntu.
Well, as I didn't install any Linux yet, I'd like to ask two questions:
Which one is the best distro for this laptop? Also, which distro would be better for me? (consider me a newbie who doesn't know how to do anything on Linux, despite my IT background and years with Windows);
As I don't want to play or use anything demanding on Linux, such as 3D modelling or gaming, should I 'risk' my laptop by trying to use my offboard GPU? Shouldn't I just let the system running on the Intel onboard one?
Thanks in advance and sorry for any grammar mistake. I'm still learning English!