BDW... actually you're MUCH better off than many of us Linux newbies... Because you haven't been poison by the way Microsoft wants you to use your computer. I remember the first time I started using Linux, and boy did I hate it then! That's because I'm too used to the M$ way of doing things.
I don't use RedHat anymore (in fact the last RH version I used was 5.0), but I believe that RH has very good hardware recognition capabilities. And I agree with fancypiper, if you want a stable Linux installed on your laptop, then avoid the latest version. Maybe start from the version before it (I think it's 8 for RH, not sure though).
Anyway... welcome to OSS Linux