I've recently tried Unity 11.10 Ubuntu Juice and the Mint RC on a VirtualBox VM. I must say that I like Gnome3 better than Unity but still like my Gnome2. On the issue of VMs I think any hardware / video acceleration sucks hard so a separate partition is good for that stuff. My issue has been when you have OSes that cannot read each others file system a VirtualBox is much nicer.
Oh and this new forum theme is much more inviting hooray.
 I know not as hard as it used to but on my mortal hardware it still is jumpy and makes me feel like I just mined into a lava pool
 I've been away a while so it's new to me.
Minecraft isn't just a choice it's a lifestyle.
I've just booted tried mint 12 stable on live usb. I wasn't intending on using it for long but was hoping to see something a bit more polished, they've obviously put a lot of effort into reconciling gnome 2 with 3, but I'm not sure that mixing the desktop concepts from gnome 3 and gnome 2 has really worked. The thing that was great about the gnome 2 mint releases was the improvement on ubuntu. I'm a kde guy but I have to say that I find unity makes more sense to me than the new mint interface, as does gnome 3. Mint is a great project so I'm not knocking them, this just isn't as pretty as earlier versions.
This is my xorg.conf. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My xorg.conf is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my xorg.conf is useless. Without my xorg.conf, I am useless...
There's a great forum post for tweaking the gnome shell desktop after you install (http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=86813). Also, with the new Mate desktop you get the familiar gnome-2 interface. I do not believe you can access the Mate desktop from the live environment so this will require an install. Myself, I'm having a difficult time switching to the new gnome3/shell environment, but it is starting to grow on me. Like any other major change it will take some time to become acquainted with the new features.