Motherboard is always the hardest.. Suggestions plz!!

Hello there tom's hardware community. I have spent days searching the internet for information about motherboards and since I usually find about 80% of my answers here, I thought I would just finally ask. So, I need to upgrade my system desperately starting with the core components as they are the oldest; these include: cpu, ram and motherboard. Now anything at this point would be an update but I still have to stay within a budget while spending enough to future-proof myself somewhat. As far as use is concerned its mostly for gaming (Skyrim, SWTOR, Battlefield 3, Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2 to name a few) and basic functions like internet, music and so forth. I also do some video editing and photo editing so thats a factor as well. Now based on all my research I decided on the CPU and memory but the damn motherboard is always the hardest part. I'm open to any and all suggestions and I will list what I've already chosen below.

For the price, everybody seems to agree on AMD so I've chosen the Phenom II x4 965 Black Edition 3.4 ghz. I find the price acceptable at around $120 on newegg. My AMD alternatives are the FX series or the A series but from what I've read they are not as good because they're not true multicore processors. Also, I plan on getting the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo because everyone says its awesome for the price.

I chose 8 GBs of Corsair Vengeance running at 1600 with a cas latency of 7. I'm told that the lower the is CL is the better and that the speed that its running at is not as important. As for price I found it at about $75 also on newegg. Is that a good price?

I'll mention here that I would like to try and overclock at some point so I'm choosing parts with that option in mind. In the event that I don't oc as I've never done it before and I'm admittedly nervous, these parts seem to be powerful enough all on their own.

Now for motherboards, I can spend up to about $200 for a mobo but lower is always better. I currently have an ASUS so I trust the brand, although, people seem to rave about ASUS mobos but the reviews on almost all of them are crappy.. Can someone explain this? Gigabyte is another brand that is said to be just as good as ASUS. The brands to avoid seem to be ASRock, MSI, Zotac and Biostar.

So, given the current cpu, I would need only a socket AM3 but I think it may be wise to have an AM3+ for the afore-mentioned futureproofing. Having crossfire or sli support would be nice too but right now I only have one HD6870. I want to leave enough room to expand so a micro board is too small. I want to make sure that I have enough header ports because I plan on buying the Corsair 600t a little later on. I figure that its good to have all the modern stuff on there too like UEFI, USB 3.0 and SATA 6/gb for the SSD that I plan on getting some day.

Ok, so, the name of the game here is expandability, functionality and quality all while staying in a mid to mid-low end price point. I think that these parts are pretty good for the money and for my needs at the moment but please tell me what you guys think. Thanks all :na:
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  1. if it were me, id get a 2500k with a 100 dollar asrock z77 motherboard. i think ud see considerably better performance for about the same price. this also gives you a nice upgrade path into ivybridge. $109 $219

    total: $328
  2. The choice of a MB isn't really hard once you're familiar with the models available. One model I particularly like because it's feature rich, yet relatively inexpensive is this:
    GIGABYTE GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
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