Try Gnu/Linux Mint 6 XFCE. It installed light and fast.
User friendly, ease of use and elegant. Based on Debian and Ubuntu, so the driver support is wide, and once the system is online you have the option to install additional software or not. This is done easily by mouse clicks.
It also offers you the choice to install firmware drivers.
There are many linuxes that can meet your criteria, Mint 6 is one. Finding them you simply try them all until one fits your taste.
Use the live CD to run it before you install.
Hope this helps.