I am glad to report that after four months the Compaq Armada is still a functional, useful tool. I have another identical to it that is still running Win98 and this thing runs rings around it. The hard drive install is the way to go if someone wants to breath life back into some old hardware. It gives you all of the benefits and security of linux without the bloat that seems to accompany many of the 'ready to go' linux desktop solutions.
I still have sound issues, having tried most of the suggestions from the forums. Sound would be nice (and I may still get that to work) but it isn't essential. I leave this thing set in my kitchen so i can surf the web while eating breakfast. It actually boots alot faster than my Thinkpad running XP. The VNC client lets me run my remote machines at the office with great response time. I may do a DSL install on the next desktop machine I build.