First of all, before getting an Intel motherboard for the Pentium 4 Processor that you have, you will have to check for compatibility to avoid disappointment as other people might be having when they upgrade motherboard.
In order to know the exact model of the processor, you will need to check on the processor itself, it will be written something like SL XXX (where XXX is 3 alpha-numeric characters following the SL), this will tell you the exact model of the processor if you put the SL XXX on this tool: http://ark.intel.com/ or on this link: http://processorfinder.intel.com/. From there you will get the exact Processor number, such as for example SL7Z7 will be a Pentium 4 650.
Then knowing the exact model of your processor, you can go to your preferred motherboard and browse to the Supported Processors link on the right side of the motherboard Support Webpage and you can see if your specific processor is supported on the particular motherboard. Please note some motherboard make required specific mininum bios version for certain type of processors, so on the same list if you spot your processor it may also indicate if there is a minimum bios recommended or not.
All of the Intel 3 and 4 Series board which start with a DP or DX will not have on board graphics, thus you will have to use external graphics card. The DP43TF is a good board but I am not sure if your processor will be supported on this new board/platform.
I think the best board for you would be the D975XBX2 (not the D975XBX). The D975XBX2 is quite a good extreme board and it does not have on board graphics as well. It has 3 PCI Express slot with one of them being a 16x lane. But you need to check for processor compatibility before going further.
FYI: If you are not using RAID, then even if you have an Intel board which supports raid, you do not need to install the F6 raid drivers. F6 drivers should be install during operating system installation ONLY if you have set up you hard disk as raid. For non-raid hard disk, the operating system installation is normal as on any non-raid intel boards.
Also, yes if you are using raid, then in most situation you may need a compatible usb floppy drive however this can be avoided if you slipstreamed the raid drivers within the operating system installation. But you do not have to worry about this as you are not using RAID.
Hope this will be useful to you.
Thanks for the very detailed response.
The Intel site did find my Processor by the number - it has this stamped on it: .SL7J9
and that came back as: Intel® Pentium® 4 Processors 560
It is NOT supported by the P35 boards.
Question 1) When you say, "All of the Intel 3 and 4 Series board which start with a DP or DX will not have on board graphics" - what about the boards that start with just "d" (i.e. D975XBX and D975XBX2).
Questions 2) when you say, "I think the best board for you would be the D975XBX2 (not the D975XBX). " - why ? I checked the stats on both the BX and the BX2 and the only difference I can find is that the BX2 has 8 SATA ports instead of 4 because it offers RAID and the BX does not.
The problem is, in pricing them out, for some odd reason I can find several sellers of the D975XBX and one is cheap at $93 but I found only one seller for the D975XBX2 and they want $523 (Amazon).
Question 3) both boards say they offer Multi GPU support using "ATI Crossfire". To do that I thought you need two identical Video Cards and a pair of identical video interface slots. The BX2 does have 3 PCIe x16 slots, but the BX only has one PCIe x16 slot (i.e. one Video card), so how could it support ATI crossfire? Oddly, the BX which I assume is older, has one PCIe x16, one PCIe x4, and one PCIe x8 slot. The newer BX2 has no x4 or x8 PCIe slots, although as I said it does have 3 PCIe x16 slots.
Let me know . . . . thx (great response by the way)