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Anything in the top 10 on the "hit list" at Distrowatch will be fine. You can use either i386 or i64 versions---I recommend staying with the 32-bit versions (i386, i686, x86, etc.) unless you have an established need for 64-bits.
I can't agree more about the redundant thread/questions!
Most Newbies to LQ or Linux for that matter don't use good nettiquette. Therefore we must continually be exposed to this type of questioning.
Most new users just don't make the effort to search for a answer on LQ or Google. Most expect or feel they are due a answer and don't realize we are here at LQ volunteering to help. That's generally the mindset, most mods try to curb the problem but we as participants have a responsibility to assist in a manner that is not condescending nor overwhelming to that type of newbie.
My biggest complaint is spelling, grammar and that damn AOL speak. LQ has a good spell check but hardly anyone uses it. To construct a sentence for understanding is not that hard, just a little more effort.
Which Linux would be the best to start off with. Do I need the i386 or i64?
There is a case for the 64 bit version, with over 4G of ram; you don't have that so you might as well save yourself some minor headaches with the 32 bit version (the headaches are getting less with time, and really only concern the few bits of proprietary software that you might use).
Really people can only say what suits them, or what they see suits a population of others; Ubuntu is popular with newbies, but something like Mint or Mepis are good alternatives. Whatever, you'll know better in six months what you want and don't want in a distro (and that's a better time, imho, to get serious about this question).