The newer versions are probably every bit as good.
I just spent the last two weeks doing nothing but trying distros that will run on an old Dell Optiplex GXi w/128M ram, 4G drive. Pretty much stock.
Tried Vector SOHO 4 (almost worked), Vector 4.3 (not), DeliLinux (not), College (a bad college joke), blah, blah. What a freakin' nightmare!
Then I tried MEPIS. I just started installing it about 2 hrs ago and the machine is up and running. Haven't checked it all out yet. I'm sure there'll be some tweaks yet.
I've also used Mandrake since about 7.1. I had 10 Community installed on an HP Pavilion 8860 1GHz Atholon w/512M. Not bad. Now I have WhiteBox Linux installed on it. Very nice. It's a clone of Redhat Enterprise Linux ES which I just installed on a Dell PowerEdge 2300. It's running as a server at a client's location. Also very nice.
Long story short, give MEPIS a try.