Motherboard burnt, seek advice on replacement

So my two month old Asus M4A78T-E (see my system summary here) spontaneously shut down and then smoked when I tried connecting a new power supply to try to see why it would no longer start up.

I.e., it shut down, then when I tried starting up, it kept sputtering (starting up for only a split second then requiring power supply shutdown before even being able to do that sputter again), so I bought another power supply thinking that was the culprit - it made it smoke, then after removing everything from the case (again) and trying it again, it does start up but doesn't post and there's no video output.

Anyway I assume the board is toast. I guess I'll try to RMA it but I cannot wait weeks for a new board from ASUS.

I am thinking of buying a new one locally, such as the Asus M4A88TD-V EVO

The thing is, my current board said it would do dual x8 if I were to set up crossfire, this new one says one will run a x16 and one at x4 - is that worse for crossfire?

I DO want to ensure I get USB3/SATA3 this time around, also. (and DDR3 is a must of course)

Should I be looking at other brands that might be more reliable (and won't shutdown and smoke spontaneously)? I used to like Asus a lot but perhaps Gigabyte is better value?

Also is there anything else I should be looking at - like maintaining compatible chipsets, etc.? (I set my drives up as RAID ready - not sure if that means I need to get same RAID chipset if they were not really in an array, well, at least not a true multi-drive array but an array of one) I want to ensure I don't have to re-install Windows 7.

Maybe they're all equivalent and it just doesn't really matter that much if the board has the features one wants?

I don't mind getting a board without video this time as I just bought a 5770 along with the power supply (still thinking of returning that though for a 5850, but don't mind saving the $100 - any thoughts on that are appreciated too).

I've tried Googling for all this but there's just so many new chipsets out. Also the thing is I'd rather get one that I can get locally so I can pick it up tomorrow hopefully. But if someone really thinks there's another one that makes sense, i guess I can order it from NewEgg and wait.
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  1. x4 will bottleneck most CrossFireX setups.

    I suggest the ASRock 870 Extreme3 with x8/x8 CrossFireX which will not bottleneck any setups, ticks all the boxes.
  2. Hey guys, I decided to update this. After more research I discovered the system builder paradise that is Fry's Electronics (I knew they weren't just an appliance/electronics super store but actually sold components, but man, I didn't know they had pretty much everything you could want in stock), and picked up a brand new Asus M4A89GTD PRO/USB3.

    This motherboard is sweet, the BIOS is so much better organized than my last board (which is really a year or more older than this new one), and I even improved my Windows Experience scores by 0.1! The potential for overclocking also seems better (or at least easier) with this board. It got a great review on OverClockers Club.

    I recommend over the similar Gigabyte because this has the 8+2 power setup (vs 8+1). Also when I was researching, it seemed like Gigabyte might be better at keeping cool, but actually that board composition they advertise was taken from ASUS in the first place (so with ASUS you are getting that technology, from the original source). Also the USB tests of the 3.0 controller were faster the Gigabyte's.

    Finally, I can rest a bit easier because at least at Fry's I was able to get a $35 three year warranty. I normally hate warranties, but considering I just had a $130 board go up in smoke, I will feel better knowing that if something should go wrong, I can go replace this in the store for an instant replacement.
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