Which motherboard should I choose?

For reference, here's the system I'm putting together:

PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017

CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103649

GPU: XFX Radeon HD 4850 w/1GB RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150351

The rest of the parts are irrelevant to the question or will depend on its answer so I won't include them.

Some of the things I'm looking for in a motherboard are Firewire and eSATA support, 2 PCIe slots for possible crossfire in the future, maybe IDE support, unlocking the 4th core of my CPU is something I will probably try to do in the future, but I've never overclocked so I probably won't do anything more than experimenting. I also don't care about onboard graphics as I will be buying a separate graphics card. And obviously good build quality and reliability.

I'm not sure whether or not to go with a DDR3-capable board because I'm trying to keep this build as low-budget as possible. Help me decide between these two (DDR3) boards:

ASUS M4A78T-E
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131366

GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128378

They're similar in their features, but the Gigabyte board seems to offer more "goodies" (the eSATA and 4-pin molex expansion port thing) than Asus so I'm leaning towards that. Could anyone point out any major differences to me that I may have overlooked? I think they're close enough in terms of build quality and reputability that I shouldn't worry about one brand being better than the other in any significant way.

Otherwise, the best DDR2 board I could find for the price is this:

ASUS M4A78-E
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131368

I couldn't find anything else that met my requirements for a similar price. I'm open to suggestions here. This is from one of the reviews: "Second of all 1066 is supported with one dimm per channel...meaning if you have 4 sticks of 1066 your ram will be underclocked to 800....Not a big deal for me but nothing a little tweaking can't handle." Is this true? Should I save my money and go with the 800 off the bat rather than have it underclock if I decide to upgrade?

I'm also open to RAM recommendations, as I'm not too familiar with DDR3.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and giving me your opinions.
3 answers Last reply
More about which motherboard choose
  1. Gigabyte. No particular reasons except I prefer them. Well, I think they have a small edge on reliability. But I could be wrong. :)
  2. both should be fine i think. personally id also go with gigabyte...for some reason i usually use gigabyte with amd and asus with intel
  3. Anyone have an opinion on ddr2 vs ddr3? Is it worth it to go with the more expensive one now since it will be the new standard?

    If I do pick ddr3, how should I go about picking the ram?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820178238
    Are these any good? I only picked them because they were cheap and had free shipping. I also noticed that 1333 ram comes with PC3 10666. PC3 10660, and PC3 10600. What do these mean? Should I pay any attention to them?
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