All three boards you listed would be great with the ASUS as my top pick, and MSI at the bottom. None of these outshine the ASRock... FYI - ASRock is owned, or partially owned, by ASUS.
You said you would not be overclocking, but consider buying the Phenom x4 955 BE and bumping the multiplier to the Phenom x4 970 specs. They are the same C3 revision which means only the multiplier from the factory is different...
Any other suggestions? Would like a few more before deciding on my final choice. Seems the comments on the ASROck board are very good.
I'm a bit scared to OC, so if I went that route, what would my odds be for frying it?
I'm willing to take any and all suggestions for Mobo/CPU combo. I relaly don't know what to look for, I haven't been keeping up with the tech for years. I really don't care if it's Intel or AMD. I'm just wanting something to take full advantage of my video card, an HD 5770. The system I currently have bottlenecks at the cpu, which is why I'm looking to upgrade the mobo/cpu, & ram.
So any suggestions you may have to take full advantage of my video card, I would be appreciative. I have an OCZ 700w StealthXstream, but currently undergoing RMA...according ot the guys in the PSU forums, they think it's on my end rather than the PSU.
My budget is $450, but that includes a new case, optical drive. If I can get the Mobo/CPU cheap enough, I'll end up adding another HDD or two. I currently have 2 500gb HDD in raid 1.
Western Digital Caviar GP WD5000AACS 500GB 5400 to 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s. I no longer have the original box, so I don't know anything more specific than that. I got that from NewwEgg but bought these drives from Walmart when my HD crashed. It says it's GreenPower, and when looking at HDDs it's usually 5400 RPMs.
Everything off the HDDs labels (they are identical drives)
MDL: WD5000AACS - 00ZUB0
DATE: 11 NOV 2008
The 890FX is at the high end; for someone not interested in overclocking or running multiple video cards, it may be overkill.
I've also had only good results from ASRock, and I've used 3-4 different models of their AMD boards. The 870 Extreme3 that Sadams04 linked is a nicer choice than the 870iCafe I'm currently running.
If you're looking for a cheap case, check out Rosewill. I've bought half a dozen of their budget cases (i.e. $25-$30 range) and been satisfied with all of them. They're thin (like all cheap cases), but the fit and finish have been decent, and they all came with quiet 120mm rear fans.
Don't be scared to overclock. It is easy to overclock a current Phenom X4 955/ 965 BE to 3.8+ GHz with a small voltage increase. You will need a CPU cooler to keep temps in line (Cooler Master Hyper 212+). There are plenty of AMD Black Edition overcloking guides. Just keep your temps in check...
BE overclocking does not even involve much risk, just bump the multi and test for stability and temp(add more voltage if you want to go farther and have low enough temps) and move on. It does not effect anything else in the system.
Just that easy.