I got him a beast of a build for under $10k.
I justify it completely for saving his buddy $2k.
Hes going to have 6GB of VRAM which he can overclock way upwards toward 24-2500MHz and the core clock over 700MHz. 1TB solid state in a RAID1+0 plenty of room and speed. The i7 can be clocked close to 4.5+ with the help of the Apex WC. Intel got their i7 to OC to 5.07GHz air-cooled.
Crucial has 4GB sticks...but the price for a pack of 3x4GB sticks was over $900 so I just stuck with GSkill and 12GB total RAM.
I despise all things creative, and actually have the ASUS DX in my rig, which i just fugged up trying to get a tri-boot working, and it is actually really nice sound. Better yet, this card wasn't built for Vista, but hey a driver was put out to fix that...unlike creative putting out a new sound card to fix it.
The Ethernet card, I had mixed feeling on. I have seen/read reviews that are great performance increase, and then worse than the on board Ethernet card. I threw it in there because if it doesn't increase performance it still looks cool