I purchased this laptop about a month ago. I have tried a few distros on it.
Here are the results:
Redhat Linux 9.0 - Installed and worked very nicely. Didn't try modem, but eveything else worked fine. Notes: No sound in Tux Racer, I don't know if this is a Redhat issue or not, but sound worked in Chromium. 3D graphics worked beatifully.
Gentoo Linux 1.4 - I didn't try older versions of this, the version I used was 20030911. Booting from the LiveCD gave a Segmentation Fault when detecting hardware. I received SegFaults quite often when trying to install this. I admit I don't have a lot of experience with Gentoo but I gave up eventually.
Mandrake 9.2 - This is what I currently have on it. While I like some of the design elements of Redhat, I like Mandrake a bit more. Interesting note: Tux Racer has sound but it is delayed. Everything works nicely.
Final thoughts: Use Redhat 9 for a truely brainless and trouble-free install, use Mandrake for some more games (I like) and no need to register for updates.
BTW: For $600 after rebates I say this is an excellent laptop.