I run Xubuntu on all my laptops, cause I like the X desktop.
As far as old laptops, depends on how old.
Is it 32, or 64 bit, and will it boot Live, from USB, or do you need a DVD to boot the live media?
I like to always run whatever Linux distro I'm trying, in Live mode from a USB first, to see how it works for my hardware.
If it won't run Live, then there is no need to go to the trouble to Load it on the Hard drive.
You can find all the varieties of Ubuntu here with all the issues thru the years.