I have the exact same laptop model and my cpu usage normally is about 2 - 4% usage, while running compiz. If its using that much of the cpu then yes it most definitely is using the cpu to render the compiz graphics. Sounds to me like the intel graphics aren't loading properly. If you changed some settings in your bios, try resetting them; this same thing happened to me a while ago and that is how I solved it. Other than that the laptop runs ubuntu 12.10 perfectly. Any alternative to compiz would stop any hopes of you running unity; since unity is a compiz plugin. If you do not care about that, try cinnamon, gnome-shell, kde, lxde, elementary OS pantheon, xfce, or you could try dockbarx; which supports the unity quicklists and functions very similarly to the unity dock. Try installing that x-swat drivers from the ppa or the more unstable ones.
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade