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With that computer, which is very similar to mine, you will have a hard time running the latest versions of KDE or GNOME. I'm running the ones that come with Red Hat 7.2 and they take a long time to come up. The best bet is to just run a window manager such as Window Maker, fluxbox, icewm, fvwm, etc.
As far as the best distro? I like Red Hat 7.2. If you or a friend is on high speed internet with a burner you can download what you want from http://www.linuxiso.org
Go with something hard. All those "easy configuration tools" are bogus. They never work as well as learning how to do stuff yourself. Also, distros like RH and MDK default to tons of unneccesary services that are gonna choke yer oldschool computer. For your situation, the benefits of a light/fast version of linux are going to make all the difference, usability wise.