After a little research on stripped versions of Linux I settled on Lubuntu, primarily because of its association with Ubuntu. I figure with the development support behind the Ubuntu distro there would be updates and fixes coming out for it for awhile still.
I burned a live CD of Lubuntu and started up the Machine:
AMD Sempron processor 3400+
It had previously run Windows XP very successfully, so I was fairly confident that I wouldn't have any problems. True to expectations it booted and ran very well off of the CD. So I clicked the install button figuring that this would be the easiest setup ever. But the installer couldn't make it past the partitioner, it gave a couple of different errors and refused to format the HD. After trying every configuration I could think of I gave up for the day.
The next day, on a hunch, I started the computer back up with the live CD, launched a terminal window, and used fdisk to manually format all the partitions on the drive to a Linux format. After that the installer ran perfectly with no problems.
My next issue came when I tried to boot the newly installed OS. It would let me into the command prompt on first boot after taking the CD out, but after that it wouldn't even let me get that far. The error it was throwing was:
drm_crtc_helper_set_config failed crtc:6
After Googling for awhile I finally found someone else who had a similar issue and had posted a fix.
Their post can be seen here.. I have copied the steps below:
There is no other way than adding a parameter to the kernel line before booting. In your case it is probably "nomodeset" or "nomodeset noapic".
1. Restart your PC
2. Hold down SHIFT (if it doesn't work, try 'Esc' or any other key) to display the hidden menu during boot (Note: SHIFT only works for single-OS systems)
3. When you see GRUB menu, highlight the Linux Mint entry and press the 'E' key
4. Use the cursor keys to navigate to the line that ends with "quiet splash", and add nomodeset (like this: quiet splash nomodeset)
5. When you are done editing the kernel line, press Ctrl-X to boot
I held the shift key, got to the Grub menu, pressed E and was on my way. The line I needed to edit didn't End with "quiet splash" there was a variable after that text, I inserted "nomodeset" between the quiet splash and the variable. When I pressed Ctrl+X the system booted normally.