Gentoo is definitely one of the nicer linux distributions I've used; but, in retrospect, it was probably a bad choice for this project. The problem is, Gentoo compiles everything from source, and since this is an older box with a relatively slow processor, even small things take *FOREVER* to install. Just getting Gnome running took about portage about 10 hours.
3D hardware support was also a huge pain with my nvidia card. NVidia has a really slick installation package (well, compared to other linux graphics drivers anyway), but there's quite a few snags you can run into. For instance, I spent hours trying to figure out why the card was limiting my LCD to 1024x768 when I used the nvidia drivers, but ran fine at 1280x1024 when I ran with the default drivers. (It turns out I had to set the IgnoreEDID flag in xorg.conf)
Linux is definitely getting better in a lot of aspects, but it really doesn't seem like it's ready for desktop use yet. Hopefully I can get mythTV running with this TV capture card soon though.