best video card and distro for old dual Pentium Pro/II 400
I was hoping someone out there would have some insight into an issue I'm facing now. I have an old dual Pentium Pro computer that I've upgraded over the years with dual Pentium II Overdrive processors (333 MHz running at 400 MHz) and 512 MB RAM (EDO ECC buffered). It's been a faithful computer for all Windows NT varieties including Windows 2000, which it's running just fine now. I've had Linux on it in the past and want to switch back to Linux on this computer to extend its life longer. Before doing so, I want to put the best video card that I can in it to relieve as much processing from the motherboard as possible. That's why I've been looking at the GPU-based GeForce and Radeon varieties.
So far, I've tried a GeForce4 (w/ 64mb SDRAM) with no luck. The computer just hung. I'm pretty sure that GeForce2 MX 200/400 and Radeon 7000/VE cards will work fine. I'm also wondering about the Radeon 7500 since it seems a lot better than these two. I also saw a PCI Radeon 9200SE with 128MB DDR memory on eBay, but I'm afraid it probably won't work with my motherboard (anyone know otherwise?).
What I've been thinking so far is to get a card with the most memory possible, which for my setup seems to be 64 MB DDR. Can anyone speak to the pro's and con's of the GeForce2 MX 200/400 vs the Radeon 7000/7500, especially keeping in mind that this is for Linux? Even better, what would work best in my old PPro->PII system? I know the computer is old, but it runs great and has a lot of life left in it, epecially in Linux (I do not do any gaming but do occasionally use Photoshop/Illustrator). Whatever video card I settle on, I'll probably get it off eBay b/c I don't want to spend more than $30.
Any suggestions for the best Linux disto to try? I've put RedHat and SuSE on it in the past and was thinking about SUSE 9.1 Professional but am worried about sluggishness. Should I consider Vector Linux, Xandros, or another more "lite" version?
Micron Millenia Pro2
Micronics W6-LI MB (82440FX chipset, PCI 2.1, no AGP, no USB)
dual Pentium II Overdrive processors (400MHz, 512KB cache)
512 MB EDO ECC RAM (buffered)
Number Nine Image 128 Series 2 w/ 4mb VRAM (want to upgrade this)
2x10GB+3GB hard drives
3COM 10/100 Ethernet controller