Nothing wrong with old equipment if it can handle what you need it to.
The slow startup is troubling though...
Have you gone in the bios to set the startup sequence to play on-screen? It sounds like it might be struggling with some of the startup selftests. Looking for a device that's no longer there as boot device? Having trouble with memory selftest? Maybe your mobo is too old for DDR400? A terabyte HDD might give it pause as well.
I've got a machine of similar vintage in the basement. I don't think it uses DDR400, and I don't think it would handle 4 gig of memory either.
Mostly I use it to come here and to play my music collection through my basement stereo. It was Junior's first computer for college. It originally had XP on it, but that was pretty crapped up from whatever he did with it, and the backup disks were long gone. When it finally went belly up, I made a last ditch effort to save it by installing Ubuntu as an operating system (12.04, it won't run 14). Its been going strong ever since. Surprisingly, with Ubuntu it performs far better than it ever did with Windows. The other side benefit is the dos emulation that lets me run some of my old dos programs.
I'm currently running Ubuntu 14.10 on the Acer laptop I use for gaming and console/handheld emulation, and I can run a N64 emulator at max graphics for hours without breaking a sweat. The laptop cost me ~$170 used off of TigerDirect's online catalog, and a Logitech TrackBall for ~$35, because I dislike the placement of the mousepad.
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To be completely honest, I haven't ever actually tried a Mac, and I don't think I ever will, because I had a friend who told me that his mac froze up and wouldn't let him do a hard restart, so he had to let the battery die before he could restart it, since he couldn't physically take the battery out.
Windows is a bit of a touchy issue with me, given my previous experiences with it, but I could see myself using it as a work computer.
Linux Mint/Ubuntu are by far my favorite operating systems. With LTS versions of either, I am guaranteed 5 years of security updates from the developers, without any risk of regression. Also worthy of mention is the fact that almost if not all distributions of Linux are guaranteed to need roughly 2-3 GB less RAM for the OS itself than any current version of Windows, no questions asked. I also found out that I can get Steam for anything gaming related that I could want. Chrome works wonders for just about anything I could ever need to do online. The LibreOffice suite is free and very user friendly, and I can use Document Reader to get around Adobe cutting its Linux support.
All in all I can use Linux for basic work functionality, without any extra cost above the machine itself. As for gaming I can run most games on a Linux-based tower, and for the few I cannot, and still want to play, I can use WINE to do so, all without costing me a penny above the cost of the game itself
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