As far as MadVR goes, it's just a decoder for playback. Yes, it's GPU assisted, but it's not really related to video editing unless you're using some special codecs. So, more importantly, is this machine for HTPC work, or is it for video editing? There's a big difference.
No, it's definitely not a decoder.
Okay, then I'll say it's like VLC on steroids. It's nothing I would ever use professionally because it doesn't work with professional standards.
madVR is a high quality video renderer (GPU assisted). features: high quality chroma upsampling, high quality scaling (bicubic, mitchell, lanczos, spline etc), high quality YCbCr -> RGB conversion, gamut & gamma correction for display calibration, full 16bit processing queue, final 16bit processing result is dithered down to RGB output bitdepth, bypasses graphics card's video (damage) algorithms, all work is done via GPU shaders, no shortcuts, highest quality has priority over anything else
So all this does is take a file, and play it back at high quality, order allow you to convert another file to a different file format? It's like VLC with different playback options.... With so many HTPC threads regarding it, I don't see what this has to do with video editing. Other than this madVR software, what will your friend be using to edit video? Is this just for ripping blu-rays to a specific format and avoiding color changes on the output file? I work in Radio and TV, I'm shooting a documentary currently, and I own workstation that is meant for editing blu-ray quality video. When you say "video editing workstation," I expect something that will see professional use, therefore I raise these questions of what the machine will actually be used for.
As rotor pointed out, the Dell Precision T series workstations are a lot closer to what you're looking for. I would also agree that they're pretty quiet with light usage, however under load, they're some of the loudest machines you'll ever use.
|Dual Intel Xeon E5-2670v2--Xigmatek SD1283 DK-II|Asus Z9PA-D8--HR-05 IFX|128gb DDR3-1600 ECC RDIMM|240gb SSD, 640gb, 1TB, 2TB HDDs|nVidia GTX660ti 2GB|Antec HCG-750|NZXT Source 210 Elite|M-Audio ProFire 2626|Art TubeOpto8 with Smooth Plate Tube Swap|Avid Artist Mix x2|
A 9500GT with 1GB of RAM is the most pointless thing since NASCAR.