$1300 budget approach...
$20 combo savings. Well respected SSD, SLI capable board with nice big VRM config, great value.
$30 combo savings. This is the performance leader in this price/size class for mechy drives. Respectable PSU here as well, will be a bit overkill but there is nothing wrong with headroom, especially if you go with the i7 deal I found here below... (which will use more power, being both a sandy instead of ivy, and being an i7 instead of an i5)
$25 combo savings AND $32 promo code savings (enter promo code: HARDOCPX815F) I tested it, yes, this is a combo that allows both promo and combo savings to apply at the same time, take advantage before they "fix" their mistake! Why build an i5 rig when you can get an i7 rig for effectively ~$30 more by using this little "trick?!" (there's a good chance this "good deal" will be "fixed" soon so act fast if you want to take advantage.
20% off promo code: RWCP2008 I think this thing looks great for the money. If your friend insists on a full tower this is probably the best value option.
$1194 shipped, leaves about $100 for an optical drive and the CPU cooler of your choice.