I think it's well worth spending a few bucks more for a better GPU. If he's like a normal guy (non-gamer) who doesn't have a 360/PS3 and stopped gaming with the Super Nintendo, even an 8600gt would blow him away (especially if the e2160 is overclock to 3.2ghz): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Then you can parlay that into an 8600GT which can be has for $70-$80. The 8600GT should handle most games decently at moderate resultion with moderate detail. Not a great gaming card, but cheap and will get you by.
(Note: An After market cooler is not necessary. That chip normally hits 3.0Ghz easily on stock cooling. If you are on a budget no need for an after market cooler. It might run a little quieter or hit an extra 200Mhz, but not really a big deal on your budget.)
Yeah, my thought is that graphics are ez to upgrade - and people like to do it. Once he gets his new PC up and running i'm sure he'll want to see what he can do to improve, then he can get a good graphics card, when its not all done at once.
This does look like a very good alternative and a good price - Abits are solid for OC'ing from what I hear?
Also, just so we are clear - My brother & own and run our own, entry level home theater company - typically we're mounting flat screens and install 5.1 audio in multi-purpose family rooms. we do home automation with distributed audio as well.
We were at a conference last year and took a free product training class that Microsoft was offering to promote Media Center - Home Theater PC'S are getting big, and Media Center is the automation that makes it easy.
At the end of class they gave every atendee a free copy of their best Vista Ultimate along with Media Center and the remote and IR kit for Media Center. .......
We were blown away - we had jumped into this class last minuted, b/c the one we had orginially signed up for wasn't what we thought it was....how lucky was that eh!
The GS is actully only $28 aftr MIB, but i cld upgrade to the 8600GT for $31 more aftr MIB.
As for the missing HDD -
$75 - Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard
If I'm not mistaken the AC Freezer 7 Pro comes with Arctic Cooling MX-II applied. That is a very good thermal paste already, so you could save a few $ and not buy extra paste. (Unless you plan on removing / reapplying the HSF several times, then you may want to consider extra thermal paste )
This is a separate build from the other forum subjects I am in. This System is a single system that I am helping my brother with - where the other system I have been discussing in the HDD forum is for my personal use.
Again - do you have a Dell? Why do you think I should get one?