I got mine a couple of years ago, and because it is a newer generation one it has been fine, but I know MANY people who have had them konk out on them. One guy is on his fourth! If he is going to get one, get a newer one for sure and be aware they can just crap out for no reason. if you can afford a new one, it will have a warranty too.
Also, the new XBox180 is coming out in a month or two. Take this one of two ways.
Xbox online is going to be getting quieter, and the games will stop being produced gradually (in a year or so).
Having SAID that. there is a MASSIVE back catalogue of amazing games you can pick up for peanuts! (that’s why i got mine)
I myself am saving myself for the 2014 Steam Machines release.
Valve (who own steam) are about to kick seven shades out of the computer games market. Depending on how much money he has it might be worth looking into getting a Steambox!