You could try a Sager laptop. They have a very
good performance/price ratio. Try the 5760. You can get a great configuration for $2500. Trust me. That was the laptop I decided on (I had the same budget as your friend, too) before I realized buying a laptop was kinda silly. Sager has a lot of resellers. Look 'em up on Google if you're interested. www.istnc.com, www.discountlaptops.com
are the three I know of.
No offense, but the thing I don't like about Macs is that design
is stressed too much. I hear they under
clocked the GPU on MacBooks in order to achieve the thinness it has, and because it has a small exhaust port. Not on the 17" (which is kinda outrageous in price), but on the smaller ones.
But if he likes the OS, then maybe a MacBook is the way to go.
Just my input. You can take it or leave it.
One more thing. You know the high-end laptops marketed by Voodoo, Falcon Northwest, Monarch, Cyberpower, Alienware and others? Those are all identical to Sagers, except with different shells. You get the performance without having to pay for the name. However, I've heard Sager customer support is good, and that's what you'll get if you buy from a Sager authorized reseller or whatever they call 'em.
That's actually one of the "dirty secrets" of the laptop industry. All
laptops are built by 5 or 6 different manufacturers. Funny, isn't it? All of those Sagers and Sager clones on the market I just listed are built by a company called Clevo. So, as I said before, you get the performance without paying for the name. Therefore, the Clevo equivalent of the 5760 is the 570U. If you're interested, search for both.