On the RAM: A rule of thumb is however much RAM Apple says you can put in it is half of what it will actually be able to use. I don't know why Apple does this, but someone else may. (to check specs and that kind of thing, check out Mactracker. It's been indisposable for me (and saves you from searching the web for specs).
On the Motherboard: I'll tell you this: taking apart Clamshells can be a B*TCH. Just replacing the hard drive involves removing nearly every other component. I've never actually taken the motherboard out of mine, but if you're willing to be meticulous and patient, stripping it all the way down to it won't be that bad. Keep track of where everything goes, pay attention to what you're doing, and BE PATIENT. I can't stress that enough. Every time I've opened mine up, it makes me a little frustrated, so I usually have to take a break about halfway through. (imagine how happy I was when I got my Pismo and discovered it took no time at all to do nearly everything!)
The clamshells are cool machines, not to mention pretty solid. The only drawback to yours is no Firewire, but hey, for surfing the web and other basic stuff, it's not too shabby!
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