It has an old SiS based graphics chip with 64mb memory, there were never 3D drivers for them. Ubuntu 10.10 doesn't even boot on it and my laptop, a Lenovo N200 with intel 9something graphics 128mb so I'm really worried. Broadband prices don;t come cheap in South Africa so the download has to be worth it. I can wait for the shipment but I've since orderd 10.10 and it hasn't come, so I don't know if I'm barred from using that service since I've been sent a disc every release.
You should mention your system configuration in little more detail. Anyways the minimum system requirements for running Ubuntu (from https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/SystemRequirements) are
- 1 GHZ processor
- 1 GB RAM
- 15 GB Harddisk space
- Graphics card and monitor capable of 1024 by 768
Based on the specs for your laptop, that I found on internet, it is well above the minimum requirements. So you should have no problem running Ubuntu 10.10 or Ubuntu 11.04 on it. If you cant boot Ubuntu using live CD on your laptop then it is some other problem and you can ask question about it here.
In my experience Ubuntu runs easily on machines with lot less capable hardware. I ran Ubuntu 9.10 on a Pentium 3 with 384 MB of RAM but XUbuntu ran a lot better on that machine. So for your old PC I would suggest you install XUbuntu. Its UBuntu with different Desktop Environment i.e XFCE which is a lot lightweight than GNOME or KDE. From the same webpage I mentioned above the minimum hardware requirements for XUbuntu are
- 256 MB Memory
- 2 GB of disk space
- Graphic card and monitor capable of 800 x 600 resolution
As you can see this is not much to ask for.
I have been installing Ubuntu on older PC's for a few years. I find there is a difference between what you need to install versus what you need for a satisfying user experience. For example, I installed Hardy Heron on an old Pentium III box, with 512 MB of RAM, and 64 MB onboard graphics. It seemed like it was strong enough but, While there wasn't any problems installing from the CD I burned from a downloaded ISO file, running it was a different story. It would frequently hang, especially with OPEN OFFICE word processor (30 page project) and Firefox browser open (I think had 4 tabs open) at the same time. Could this be an issue of not having enough RAM? It very well could be, but system monitor showed only about 75% of RAM being used at the time. I was working on a research paper at the time, and lost quite a bit of work because the only thing I could do was restart. So my point here is, you need to provide the hardware environment that Ubuntu will run well in, not just focus on what you need to install. I'm thinking that for Ubuntu 10 you need a Pentium 4 at LEAST 1.8GHz, with at least 1024MB of RAM and an Nvidia Geforce MX series at least. Also, please use a HD at least 40GB; while smaller drives will work, I would worry about running out of space, which from Windows experience can be devastating. Ive had better luck incidentally, with Intel System boards and chipsets than other makes. I am all for finding ways to keep using older computers. I have never liked the idea of throwing something like a computer away simply because it's considered obsolete. I think there are a lot of users who really do need more power, but there are a lot of other people who only have basic needs which are easily met by an older computer, but they can't afford to buy a new system. Meanwhile, I've seen piles of old computers 12 feet high that will be scrapped, and there are people who don't have anything to use; I think it's an obscene example of waste.
It is doubtful that you will get hardware acceleration for your graphics card.
However, not all are lost. You can use
Unity 2D, which does not require 3D acceleration.
As far as I understand, Unity 2D will be available as a fallback if a computer does not support 3D acceleration.
Read more about Unity 2D (+video).
You may want to try Lubuntu, which needs as minimum 96 MB of RAM.