Same here. Every iteration of Windows inspires me to a spasm of examining linux distros, but until now I've always gone away disappointed. Mint's current incarnation, while not quite up to the WinXP that's still my preferred Windows, is very encouraging. And while I still generally prefer the KDE desktop, Cinnamon is going in the right direction for everyday usability. I liked Mint well enough to install it on one of my frankenputers for further review. (Now if only GRUB hadn't committed suicide at age 2 days...)
So with the advent of Windows 10, I've been looking at lots of current distros via an Easy2Boot setup running them off a USB stick (so they all have identical resources to start with, and no waiting for either a DVD to load or an install to HD) and it was interesting to compare bootup and performance times. The system is a quad-core 2.5GHz with 4GB RAM, onboard video, and no hard disk. On average, startup time is around 55 seconds from boot to desktop (worst was OpenSuSE at 105 seconds), and LibreOffice takes 8 to 14 seconds to start. Shutdown time tends to be proportional. But Mint starts in about 25 seconds, and LibreOffice on Mint takes only 4 seconds, plus shutdown is RIGHT NOW, no waiting. Big difference, far as I can tell (not being a linux guru) is that Mint doesn't load near as much crap that really isn't useful for the desktop user. At shutdown, according to an included sysinfo tool, only one module was running, not 50 or 200 like the more typical distro.