First post, woot! I've been reading alot on these and other boards about motherboards and for my particular needs I think the ABIT AB9 PRO and the ASUS P5B-D fit the bill. BUt I cannot decide on one of the other. The ABIT board is great for performance; but the ASUS board has higher reviews on newegg because it's more drop in and go. From what I have heard:
AB9 PRO is great enthusiast board. Best overclocking. Best P965 chipset performance for vanilla board. Very stable. The problem is that ppl are dissatisfied with the installation. You need to install drivers from a floppy. You have to use the F6 thing during windows install. There's like a million RAID controllers/config. The IDE port needs an extra long cable. Nothing that you cannot surmount (nothing I cannot surmount at least) but a pain in the rear.
On the other hand, the P5B-Deluxe board is a good performer, with much better customer satisfaction on newegg, but not good as the AB9 in vanilla or overclocking performance. I only intend a mild overclock of my E6700 CPU (I want 3 GHz); but, I heard that if you overclock the P5B boards by ASUS it doesn't let you do EIST (speed stepping). Is this true?
If you could let me know your opinions I'd appreciate it!
Actually I would take issue with quite a lot of what you said.
Yes, the AB9 is a very good performer at stock but the P5B DeLuxe is currently a far better overclocker (AB9 ~400fsb, P5B ~500fsb) - of course it's also about 30% dearer than the AB9 at least in the UK.
& with current BIOS the AB9 really isn't that different from any other 965 chipset board for installing Windows as they pretty much all use the same add on JMicron controller for IDE support.
Both abit & Asus (& Gigabyte too) have all announced 2nd generation 965 mobos now but if you're buying today ...
P.S. I've got a Gigabyte DS4 arriving today which was my choice but if you're in the US I don't think that you can get them.