I do have an Asus 5570. Also...I do know how you appreciate the value with AMD Khali. (You have always offered a reality check on that one!) I do have a Phenom 940....would that platform have legs and what motherboard type would extend those legs?
This may just be a little simpler build situation than I thought but....would like to use at least a significant part of that budget so he is ALL smiles. Intel/AMD...no issue but do like using AMD (when it makes sense) to keep that "good fight" going. If it means Intel, for inherent reasons, so be it.
I do agree "a case is a case". I picked up a Zalman Z7 for $8.00....after the rebate so no budget concerns with that one! For me a case is one of the most enjoyable things to pick because of the huge amount of them to pick from and my trade (for a lot of years) was doing complex finishing on some of the most arcane surfaces you could imagine. (I love cases like Rosewill to launch with!) None of that nonsense here though.
The OS is going to be a dual boot with 7 64/Ubuntu 64 10.10. (He'll take to Linux and enjoy making it a "Monster" I think.)
Guess it has boiled down to Platform/Motherboard then? Love it!