Good Motherboard for Core 2 Quad Processor

Hey guys,

I am working on pricing a build for my brother who wants a good computer to replace his 10 year old desktop. I have settled on the Core 2 Quad Q8400 processor. We are looking at somewhere between 600-800 for the system itself. I am hoping that some EXPERIENCED builders can give me some good, bang-for-your-buck suggestions on the following...

Motherboard - I think this is the most nerve-racking choice. You scour newegg and EVERY mobo on the site has people both praising and trashing every mobo. You can never find a consensus "good" mobo through the user reviews. We will NOT be over-clocking or doing anything crazy. I just want to drop the CPU in and have it work. I am going to get a case with front USB ports, so the mobo needs to support that. I haven't picked out a particular case yet, and we are not worried about the "cool" factor as far as the case goes, so if you have a good mobo/case combo you'd recommend, I am all ears.

Graphics Card - I want something that will play video crisp and clear on a nice big monitor, and will be able to play most games. That said, I don't need to run COD:MW2 at 4 million frames per second. I want something that will do a good job with handling the graphics but doesnt cost and arm and a leg.

Power Supply - I was thinking the Antec 650W would be more than enough. I really like the cable management system Antec has with their Power Supply Units, and I am well aware that the PSU is not an area you want to skimp on. Antec is a quality name and this seems like it will be more than enough for the system we are designing.

Any information you can provide is appreciated. Also, I was just going to use the stock fan that comes with the processor. Do you think this will suffice since I am not doing any crazy tweaking, or would it still be worth the few extra bucks to get an Arctic Cooling fan/heatsink for the processor?

If you are interested, I plan on setting up the system the same as my personal PC I use. It will have a Raptor drive in the front for the OS and programs he uses, and a 1TB media drive in the back for photos, video, etc. CD/DVD drives seem like they are a dime a dozen, so I'll just get a Sony drive probably. If you can think of anything I am missing, I welcome any and all comments! Thanks for taking the time to read and reply and I look forward to everyone's suggestions.
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  1. If you use a "build it yourself" function like this, you'll get a better idea of what your looking for and what it will cost...
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