Can i install Mandrake on a seprate partition and run it along side of 2000 (dual boot) or will it just take over?
Yes you can. Mandrake can resize your Windows partition without harming it to make space for itself (they recommend you backup anyway). Mandrake will install a bootloader to boot itself. If you are really worried about Windows you can choose to install the bootloader to somewhere else so it won't interfere. You can also use the Windows bootloader to boot.