I'm _very_ susprised you only saw a 40 minute compile time on a 1.4GHz P4. The 1.4GHz P4 was an astonishingly gutless CPU, and it's more than a little elderly too. Are you sure you don't mean the 1.4GHz Pentium M ("Mobile Pentium" - NOT the Pentium 4 or Pentium 4 Mobile, which are very different CPUs)? That would make a lot more sense.
Also, Linux will generally touch the swap even if you have obscene amounts of RAM. There have been endless arguments about the merits of that, arguments I don't care to repeat here. Nonetheless, I'd argue that light swapping in Linux does not actually suggest memory pressure, only the VM making room for a potential surge in activity later. Upgrading the RAM is probably nuking a fly, though the extra RAM will serve as absolutely fantastic disk cache.
Other than those little issues, thanks for the interesting review. I'm still steering well clear of Gentoo, but perhaps in a while...
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