Clearly your missed my point and/or we very different views on what constitutes a 'good upgrade' and a 'bad upgrade'. IMO, right now, buying a new system as you say (ie. Core2 Duo + DDR2 RAM + Mobo + Geforce 7xxx card) is a terrible idea. I have told everybody that I know to wait 6 months from now to upgrade if they can. Why?
1. The system I stated above would cost 800 to 1000, minimum. Oh ya, and even that doesn't buy him DX10 capability. The card he got cost him ~400. Seems like a deal to me.
2. The PC market right now is extremely volatile and changes from day to day almost. With Vista coming out, most companies are jacking up prices to take advantage of everyone trying to upgrade to be 'Vista Capable'. That means the consumer gets shafted for the most part, in case I'm not being clear.
3. He can still upgrade to a C2D later! Just because he didn't do it right now, doesn't mean that hes never going to upgrade. As he said, he 14. That likely means no job and under the watch of parents, and parents don't always like to replace half of their kids computer every few months.
4. You probably missed this in his first few posts, but hes getting this card as a GIFT. He probably picked it out, but in my experience, its easier to ask for 1 bigger gift from mom and dad ($400) than 4 smaller gifts at $100 a piece. Don't know why, just is.
I think he made a good choice. Maybe its not what YOU would do, but that doesn't make it a bad decision. I do agree that he should upgrade his CPU, RAM and Mobo, but he should do it when he wants to, not when some random people on the internet tell him to.