#1
So my friend has been playing the same offbrand stratocaster copy for 2 years now and has gotten a sum of money (450 US) for his birthday.

He wants a new guitar.

And please no amp suggestions, he's happy with his modeling amp.
#2
Many sub-450 ibanez should be very good. If he must have floyd rose, then he will have to settle for the Ibanez RG350 or 370, which have crappy Edge III. If he likes traditional tremolo, SA series are good. For hardtail, RG321 is the best one out there: Used by many pro shredders, made of mahogony, bolt on, thin neck... Functionality wise, RG321 is the best, especially in terms of value.
Ibanez SA-120 (ed.2006)
BluesJr 1996-B + cathode follower + texas Heat
Crate CPB150
Homemade 4 x 10 cab Bass closeback
Metal Muff