Great job niteman - I've finally got this running as a core and I really like the mobo. Thinking of getting one for my MD - looking forward to your HDMI experiment. Please keep us posted on your progress.
I'm glad you and nite have been through this already or I would be stuffed. I just bought the same motherboard, and spent the last few days trying to setup Linux MCE on it.
I get the same issues as you did, however I am not at all fluent with the Linux command line navigation. How the heck did you update the drivers in recovery mode??!! I am assuming that this is using the 2nd option down after you press esc at the boot screen, as the bottom option comes up with "file not found".
The wiki suggests the wget command to download the drivers, however I am pretty sure that the NIC is not working, and as such, wget wont work.
I put drivers on a CD, but have failed to access the drive from within the recovery console. Could one of you please enlighten me?