How much does the motherboard really matter for a gaming PC? As long as it supports my processor, RAM, video card and other components then it shouldn't hamper my PC's performance...right? Someone please explain what all these different chipsets and stuff mean. I heard that the P35 based motherboard (or something like that) is the best for my Intel Core 2 Duo, but will it make that much of a difference if I get a different kind?
Depends on how good of performance you want, I guess.
You can get a real cheap mobo and it will work just fine. But cheap mobo usually means cheap components, which translates to sub-par performance for a limited amount of time before a cheap capacitor decides it can't handle it anymore and burns itself out. You probably wont even realize what it is until your 10th trip to the local computer store and weeks of frustration trying to figure out why your comp dosen't work anymore, that it might be your mobo
The best? In my opinion, P35 is the best for the money, but not the best. You will need to research the different chipsets to decide what features you would like your mobo to have.