I have an old Dell Dimension 8400 that was given to my kids with no hard drive. I have since installed a hard drive and would like to know which OS is the best and most compatible. It does have a TV tuner card, but I am not sure the model as I have no documentation to go with the computer. I assume it is all stock basic parts. It is only 32 bits on the CPU as I did try to install Ubuntu 13.10 x64 and it says it is not capable of running 64 bit OS on the CPU.
Edit - I was able to get the live version of Ubuntu 8.04 to run on it. But I would like a newer version... Any input as far as OSes known to work with this model would be awesome.
I have an XPS G4, which is basically the bigger, football-playin' twin brother of the 8400, and it runs Windows 7x86 superbly. The game port on the sound card is the only thing that does not work in Windows 7 (big deal). I haven't played with Ubuntu on this system, but I don't see any reason why the 32-bit version wouldn't work (not sure how your graphics would handle Unity though ... graphics options were one of the few difference between the XPS G4 and the 8400).
I hate the Unity desktop, so I went with Gnome Classic. Not sure what is going to happen with 14.04 LTS.
Anyway, you may look upon this as an opportunity to play around with Linux and learn more about it.
Money spent on a new OS whether Window 8.1 or Windows 7 is better spent on a new PC. My 2cents.
For now I will consider this issue partially resolved... I installed DouDou linux on it for the kids (and the youngest liked it, the older ones thought it too childish), so I reformatted it with SuSE 12.1. It is running fairly smooth with that - at least as smooth as an older computer can anyway.
I was not 100% certain it would run, and so I downloaded 12.1 to test if it would install. It seems to run well, so I will see about upgrading later. The key is that it works,
My main concern now is getting kids games to run on it... That is a series of questions for another forums I think though.
I may try a few other distros when I have the time too, just to explore and have fun.