One thing to look for on these Intel motherboards is if their SATA controllers are the ICH7R, ICH7M, ICH7DH or ICH8R. If you get that then they should also support what is called 'ACHI' (Advanced Host Controller Interface).
It's part of "Intel® Matrix Storage Technology". What it is is a open standard for driver communicating to your SATA controller. It's so you don't have to create special drivers for each new Sata chipset that comes out, if your controller support ACHI then it should be supported about equally as well. ACHI will be supported by Vista, and some other chipset makers have adopted it other then just Intel.
What this means for Linux is that with newer kernels you gain very good driver support for your SATA controller.
With the latest kernel (or maybe 2.6.19) you gain..
Full Hotplug support (Yep. Libata supports that now)
and Suspend/power management support.
This means that with everything else right you should be able to do suspend to ram and suspend to desktop with it. If you want to setup a Linux server then this is great as with the newer chipsets your running over PCIe which means that the PCI buss limitations for software RAID is gone (Ignore the Intel BIOS Raid stuff.. Linux MD software raid is better). You gain hotplug support, which previously only special hardware controllers supported. etc etc.
I don't know if this board supports it though...
Also I am curious about the sound. Like how well can you get surround sound working with the onboard and especially SPDIF out with AC3/DTS passthru for setting up a home theater setup.
With the Duo Core cpus (for the low heat), the onboard GPU, and if the spdif stuff is fine, then this motherboard would be ideal for a high performance home theater setup. Much easier to get quite then something with a big video card that required a big power supply.