533 MHZ Intel Processor
64MB Ram Memory
15GB Hard Drive
For this hardware I would suggest
DLS, Puppy, debian with xfce ...
However you should consider adding more RAM
Another option is to use live cd's on your main computer.
It will run from CD, no changes to your HD
This way you can test more recent and full distributions.
For the beginner I suggest ubuntu
For some books, take a look at