since the q6600 is under $300 and my computer is over 3 years old, I decided it's probably time to upgrade. there are way too many motherboards out there, and I'm looking for some direction. I'm looking for something with good onboard sound, but I wont ever be hooking up 2 graphics cards. any recommendations?
also, any brands I should stay away from?
Well you've got so many to choose from now-a-days. Most motherboards from quality manufacturers come with a 7.1 onboard sound card.
I'd recommend just sticking with Asus, Abit, Gigabyte. I've also heard great things about DFI, so look into those manufacturers. They're pretty much the industry leaders and trusted by most technicians to make quality products.