Good to hear you got things working. 710 is rock solid and 810 is too, with a few minor glitches that have been solved or I've learned to ignore such that I don't miss anything.
At a risk of getting shot, I run 4gb pc6300 ddr2 ram in my core. Yes, it's considered overkill. Yes, it's a 32bit machine so only 3.5 is recognized, but with either frys or newegg running 4 gig memory deals for $30 or less, why not?
As for the MDs, I think 256 is the minimum, but I've had trouble with this. I had a Fujitsu B2545 touch screen laptop that I converted into a picture frame- I think Krys has some good illustrations of the way he did it. But back to the point, this requires pc100 sodimm- I don't even think 512mb was made, and if so it is prohibitively expensive. It worked excellent as an audio only MD to power the ceiling speakers in my kitchen. For whatever reason, now with 810 I get a "failed to start X" error when the machine should get to Sarah. I've looked into it a little, but gave up until 810 is official.
For me, with MDs, I run with whatever I have around- usually between 1gb and 2.