Just sharing some of my experiences with Arch and an old laptop that was given to me.
This is what I had to play with, a Toshiba Tecra A2:
- Intel Centrino 1.6Ghz
- 40 GB HDD
- 735 MB RAM
- (Also the keyboard is ripped off)
Currently have it running on the latest kernel (3.11) taken from kernel.org over the standard 3.10.10 that came with it and KDE 4.11 for the window manager. Also uses Chrome with Chrome’s pepper-flash plugin for Youtube and such. Even crammed OpenJDK 1.7.0_40 on there to run a Minecraft server. Ran fine with 1 user on the local network, only one hiccup in 30 mins or so. Poor thing took 4 hours to compile the kernel but I think overall it illustrates that old hardware is not dead hardware. I would think this old laptop would make an ok web server for testing.
First things first, take a read of both the Install Guide and the Beginners Guide. Arch is a great introduction for getting under the surface of Linux. Over the last few years I have installed Arch on multiple machines but these guides are great for getting to understand some of the things happening under the hood; And if you dont want to learn you can always blindly stick in the commands.
Get that image burnt!