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The machine isn't that bad spec'd, but SuSE will be a little slow. You could look at uninstalling apps you don't need from with YaST2, and also look at the runlevel editor in there to turn off stuff you don't need like Apache webserer, MySQL database server, mail transfer agents, etc. Also, I'm guessing you're running KDE as your windowmanager - different windowmanagers are available, with KDE being the slowest + most resource hungry. Something like fluxbox of XFCE would be a lot lighter and quicker, though will look at a little different if you're just starting out with Linux.
In terms of other distros, Debian + Slackware will be very fast by default though take a bit more configuring. Something like Ubuntu might be middle ground. Fedora + Mandriva will work pretty much straight of the box and be a bit quicker than SuSE, but still sluggish in comparison. Have a read through some other threads on here to check out what people recommend, as you're likely to get a ton of opinions as to other distros to use!
I've been running slackware on 500 MHz PIII with 196 MB memory. It works like a charm. Forget heavy graphical user environments like GNOME and KDE though, you'll be better off with something like Xfce or even fluxbox. Firefox is quite usable with this hardware and so is OpenOffice. Ripping/enconding CDs has never been a problem either. I would suspect that it's also possible to have SuSE work reasonably well by stopping unneeded services and using a lighter desktop environment.
Try Dynebolic (http://www.dynebolic.org). It's pretty light, live distro, fits in a single CD and has a lot of cool open source progs inside for post production(audio, video and image editing, 3D animation and more)
I recently swapped out a 64meg ram for 256 for a total of 384 (128+256). Everything works fine. A larger 512 module did not work, but I think that that module is only rated at 66mhz or 133 mhz. The mobo can only go to 100mhz. Supposedly, the max ram for this machine is 256x2=512. Use a program like cpuz
I have a Pavillion 6730 with 384megs (128+256) of PC133 ram. I tried a 512 module I had lying around, but it beeps and won't post. I think that there is no setting in the ram's speed timing table for the hp's top speed of 100mhz. The 256 module has speed timings for 66, 100, and 133 mhz and works just fine. Try a program like CPUZ to see the speed timings table listed on the ram module. You can definately get to 512 megs on the mobo. The HP site lists 512 as the maximum, but they also say that 256 is max on the same site.