I "think" I have my search for a mobo down to the final two choices. I don't know enough to move ahead comfortably and would love some advise in steering me to the correct one or an even better one if you have a suggestion.
There are just enough differences between the two to have me vexed, like DDR2 Vs DDR 3, Radeon 3000 Vs Raedon 4200. Like I say, I don't have the smarts to know how big a difference these things make.
I intend for this to be a combination PC and HTPC. Gaming is not a desire, nice quality audio and video to my 42" Visio HD TV is the real goal. Overclocking not so much, but I do like to play around sometimes.
If you can offer advice on either board and maybe offer up suggestions on a solid CPU in the $50-$85 range that would be great too.
Here are my two candidate boards with the details I thought might be the "difference makers":
Rear Panel Ports
D-Sub + DVI
1 x HDMI
6 x USB 2.0
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
1 x Optical
Both motherboards are a bit dated. You'd be better off getting a newer 880G chipset motherboard with DDR3.
That said, I run both Asus and Gigabyte motherboards in my systems, with the ATX version of your Gigabyte board in my HTPC (GA-MA785G-UD3H). It has been a very good HTPC board with one small niggle: it boots slow for some reason. By slow, I mean there is a 25 sec delay after the "Starting Windows" screen where it just sits. This is only when running AHCI mode not IDE, but it is only a small problem since my HTPC is in S3 sleep when not fully on and wakes up in like 2 sec. It makes my total cold boot time ~40 sec with an SSD. I don't know if the US2H version of the board has the same problem, but it's worth mentioning and looking into if others have had similar experiences.