1 gig of ram isn't going to cut it for anything even close to what he is asking for performance wise. Even for games that are already out. I personally have 1 GB (corsair xms) of ram and it takes a good 2 minutes to load BF2 alone. Oblivion takes awhile as well. And if you play any of the latest RTS's such as AOE III or RON then your ram will fill up fairly quickly at 1 GB and you will be getting annoying choppiness within minutes of playing. Getting a good amount of RAM is even more important than getting a faster processor. If you have to, compensate on that to get at the very least 1.5GB.
If he goes with a Geforce 7 series card he could easily be under the 1k mark, but if he goes with a 512 as I suggested, then he will go over. At this point though, I take back what I said. Every 512mb video card that is being sold takes up two PCI-E slots (covers the other up due to size) and wastes it, elimating the possibility to expand when needed. Either wait for smaller ones to come out or just go with a 7 series 256mb.