omg, replying to self, always slightly sad . . . . However, a new data point. Booted on an NEC Versa E400 w/1.8 GHz Pentium 4 Mobility and 256MB RAM? Who even knew there ever was such a cpu? Circa 2001/2. SiS chipset including shared video at 32MB. Afraid this spec cdn't handle the live CD. Booted but rapidly became unresponsive and dropped back to display manager login. Briefly explored fluxbox desktop. System didn't fail completely but can't do web browsing for more than 10 minutes say.
Now from CPQ Presario V6000 laptop with 1.6 GHz Celeron M, and 512 RAM. Intel 945. Too bad the screen is broken. Getting 1024x768 initially on 1280x1024 LCD. Xfce sorts the 1280x1024 on the external screen, but the original desktop image is compressed on top LHS of screen. BCM 4311 wifi working out of box with wicd. This machine is within spec for acceptable performance I think.