Need help buildng workstation computer as a present for my bf

Hi. My boyfriend's computer is in it's death throws, and I really, really need help to select parts to buy him for an early 6th anniversary/christmas gift. I found his list of remaining parts that he needs to buy in order to build a new workstation. I'm willing to spend ~$1400 or less ( hopefully less). If it helps, you can just list what specific parts you think are best for me to buy for each category that you know are reasonably priced, and I will search newegg, tigerdirect etc for the lowest price. Please let me know if pulling off these parts for this price range is impossible, so I can start my ramen noodle diet asap to save up more money.

Parts still needed:

1. 750W or more power supply
2. Two Sata 300gb 8000-10,000 rpm hard drives
3. Two Sata 2TB 8000-10000 rpm hard drives
4. Two quad core processors
with lga771 sockets. NOTE: I found xeon quad core e5405, e5410, and e5420 processors ranging in price from $250-$350. does anyone know if any of those are any good?
5. Ram (I don't know the mainboard specs. He just has DDR2 written next to it.)

My bf isn't a computer gamer, but he runs a lot of visual effects programs and does lots of rendering etc. I know whatever video card he has it was PCI express
model or something like that (dunno if that's important info or not). Anyways, I've been researching the parts, but there seems to be lots of debate over parts, and I keep reading mixed reviews of things. please help. I really, really appreciate your time and effort. Thank you!! :)
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More about need buildng workstation computer present
  1. What place would you prefer to buy from?

    Please list the parts that he has already.
  2. Best answer
    I am not sure what programs he is planning on using but a lot of times you can actually get a high end i7 to beat the e5420(which is the best of the three listed) in rendering. With the saved money I would put a SSD or two in the system for OS and programs. I don't know of a 2TB 10,000rpm hard drive.

    e5420 = $300 x 2 = $600
    i7 950 (3.06Ghz) = $299
    i7 960 (3.20Ghz) = $560
  3. hmmm... maybe it meant get two TB 10k hard drives and not a 2tb 10k hard drive. ( he has chicken scratch writing.) I posted this post in another forum, and they've convinced me that as much as I'd like this to be a surprise, it's better to just ask him what parts he has now and whats the most draining program that his comp will probably use in order for you guys to give me an accurate answer. He works more with computer programs than with the parts, so he doesn't really know about the difference between brands and model types, so even if the surprise is spoiled, I'll still be right back here begging for help. Thank you so much for the advice that you have given so far. I really, really appreciate it.
  4. Ok, I fessed up...kinda, to get the information that you needed. Right now he thinks that I needed to know everything about what he needs and has for the comp that he wants to build, so I can research everything to buy him whatever ends up being the 3 cheapest categories out of the 5 for his present. I still want to buy all five categories of parts that I listed in my first post, so any help about any of those parts would be great. Here's the info:

    Parts that he currently has that he obtained through work over a span of a couple years to use in a new computer one day
    : tyan S5375 Tempest i5100x mainboard, PNY nVidia GeForce 8800GT pci express 2.0 512mb GDDR3 video card, and an Antec titan 650 server tower case.

    Programs that he will use at home: mostly Maya and Nuke

    Purpose: Rendering. He says that ideally he would like to do background renders while continuing to work, but only if it's feasible cost wise. If not, the best comp that you guys can build that can render things at a reasonable speed for $1400 or less would be greatly appreciated. At the moment, his current 6 year old comp with 7 year old parts seems to be able to render anything he needs to do. However, it can't handle doing ANYTHING else during that time, and the render time can be anything from 5-19hrs or more depending on what it is.

    I hope that's everything you needed. Thank you in advance!!
  5. Best answer selected by chempenn.
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