In my opinion, Kubuntu without any added effects is just as good as Vista! Don't let your friends put you down. Elive is based on enlightenment. Enlightenment looks very nice for a distro and without beryl, it does a pretty good job of impressing. However, if Kubuntu is running pretty well on your laptop, I would suggest installing beryl. I have the same laptop you do (the one in your sig) and beryl works great. Worst comes to worst, you can turn beryl off with a simple click on the beryl icon and changing the window manager back to KDM or metacity if you are running gnome.http://wiki.beryl-project.org/wiki/I...gy_with_nVidia
The link posted above is a real easy way to get beryl running on your laptop. It worked for me on Ubuntu with my 7900 gs. My suggestion though is that you make sure you post the commands for Kubuntu and not Ubuntu.
One last piece of advice, after running the script, I was missing window decorations, the problem was that you had to go to your xorg.conf file and change the default depth to 24. Restarting the comp made everything work perfectly. Hope this helps...
And yes, beryl beats the crap out of Vista.