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Problems with memory usage

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I have an interesting problem with one computer I'm installing debian on and am wondering if anybody else ran into this problem.
Trying to install Debian 3.0r1 or 3.0r2 "Woody"
Computer Specifics,
256MB Ram 66 MHz FSB
20GB Hard Drive ide
Intel Celeron 700MHz
Swap space ~530MB (Double the RAM)
Filesystem Ext3
Problems I'm noticing ssh connections to the computer freeze after doing a long listing of a directory, like /usr/lib
Interesting note I found out was my meminfo produced an output like:
total memory 259MB    used memory: 252MB   Free: 7MB
I thought this was quite odd as nothing was running this was the result just after a reboot.  Mysql and Apache are installed but are not configured yet to start on boot-up.
I compared this computer to another one I installed debian 3.0r1 "Woody" on a little while back
Computer Specifics,
256MB Ram 100 MHz FSB
20GB Hard Drive ide
Pentium III 550MHz
Swap space ~530MB (Double the RAM)
Filesystem Ext3
I haven't had any problems with this system as of yet its meminfo output produced
total memory 259MB   used memory: 192MB  free 67MB
This computer is also running Mysql and Apache as well as some other local programs and seems to be running smoothly.
Curious on what I could investigate on the first system that it could be using so much memory, I would expect to take a speed hit but the memory usage I would think should be somewhat similar.
Thanks in advance.

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