3D and Video Rendering Rig: Need advice on Building

I am an Animation and Special Effects for Digital Film student.. and-I am new to building my own setup and lite in pretty much overall hardware knowledge.. but after trying to render out particle effects with multiple lights and objects in Maya at a decent quality last semester I know its definitely time to invest in a decent rig.

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next two weeks, with periodic upgrades)

Budget Range: <1400.. GPU gets priority..looking to budget where I can on the rest.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: I am searching for tips on how to efficiently build a rig aimed at optimizing working (high poly-modeling, expensive lighting and effects setup+settings, some animation) and rendering in (mainly) Maya 2012, Zbrush, and AfterEffects.
Games are not the goal.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, Speakers, Wacom Cintiq Screen, Windows 7,
..On a student budget so I am looking to utilize what I can from my current basic desktop: a Dell Inspiron 560 with Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 @2x2.93GHZ, GeForce 8400 GS GPU, Intel ICH10R SATA AHCI Controller, 1TB Sata HD, 8GB DDR3 SDRAM, mini tower...

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (newegg.com, no preference beyond price...)

Country: US

Parts Preferences: I aiming for a Nvidia Quadro..4000 GPU based on the forums I've scanned so far for my aims in working in the above mentioned programs.
That purchase may have to be put on short hold until I have the full funds, but would like to pay that extra for the long term benefits rather than settle for a 2000 (if that seems like a smart idea).
I am wondering if I purchase the other components.. an Intel core I5 or I7 CPU, The pieces required to double my ram, and a new tower+cooling system, what I should go for (on newegg..etc). to support that graphics card.

(I may be able to score an ok gaming graphics card from a friend on loan to help me out in the meantime till I can get that $740 4000 I see on newegg..)

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe...?

Monitor Resolution: My Wacom Cintiq is my main monitor.

Additional Comments: Sorry for any lack in specifics on the part descriptions. Any advice much appreciated!
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  1. Note I chose the case for the front-mounted USB 3 which I felt was important. It's a good price for that feature, but perhpas there are better choices. You do not need a great deal of cooling.

    The Rosewill PSU is very high quality. The best PSU available in that power range, which covers your needs. For others who may protest this is a Superflower built unit that is equal in quality to anything Seasonic might produce in that range.
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