How bout the ASUS Z71V? It's plastered all over the forums.
Only sub-$1000 barebone that's got a GeForce Go6600.
Though since your brothers not into gaming, it might be useful for the PureVideo chip, I dunno.
If you're still looking, Directron has a selection of barebones also:
Mostly ASUS, but there's one from ASI.
The Z71A looks promising, has 1280x800, and has a pretty nice pricetag too.
I think all of the Z71 series support using the optical drive bay for a secondary HD or battery, so if you really wanted to, you could pack a lotta storage or juice into one of those.
Plus, they have the 915GM Sonoma chipset, the new performance upgrades to the Centrino platform are worth the price premium over older chipsets (IMO).
Edit: Gah, sleep deprivation getting to me.