Ok, as I'm in the midst of building my first PC thanks to the help from people here and Anandtech (am I allowed to mentioned that place here?), my friend is inspired.
He has had the same old beater for so long that now he wants to indulge.
So what is the best ASUS or Gigabyte (or someone else?) board using X48 and DDR3 in terms of stability? He likely won't OC anything other than the processor because the E8500/E8400 is quite easy to OC.
1) Best mobo in terms of reviews/stability
2) Best DDR3 memory to go with it (1333 or 1600?)
Cost should not be a consideration as that can be applied later.