No I actually don't have any previous experience with rooting (the most I've done is manually installed an update). And I am glad to hear that it takes around an hour, I thought it'd take a day. As long as it gives me better performance and a few extra features, I'm down for it!
So after I unlock the bootloader, what do I do next regarding the ROM and kernel? Do I just need a ROM, or do I have to get a new "kernel" too? And how come some ROMS are named after 4.2.2 (or the latest version), whereas others like CM is at version 10.1? I am thinking of getting CM 10.1 because that's the most I hear about, I hope it is stable and good. Any thoughts?