Linux Mint 13 Mate is working perfectly on both my older (2003) computers, a T42 Thinkpad & Dell Dimension 2400. PAE is not needed for Mint 13, & it's a 5 year LTS version, which should be good for the life of the laptop. You can also run the XFCE version, however it's not as full fledged as Mate. If your installed RAM (memory) is less than 1GB, XFCE may be best.
Either way, there's two perfectly good choices for you. No need to run a overly unsecured XP, when Mint gives you two modern choices. You can make transactions, bank, whatever with no worries. ClamTK is a good optional virus scanner & BleachBit is an excellent browser cleaning tool, both available via the Software Manager.
Best of Luck,
Proud Linux Mint user since 2009