I'm a Comcast home customer in NJ and I can confirm this doesn't happen to me when querying my DNS servers on different networks.
Buy an off the shelf system with a 3 year warranty for ~$500 (the Dell Inspiron 530 fits the bill - http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspndt_530?c=us&cs=19&l=en&ref=dthp&s=dhs). As long as he continues to run the same application, there is no need to upgrade the hardware. He'll be able to buy 5 systems to last 15 years for the price of a system that's guaranteed to last 15 years (is there any such thing?). Using virtualization software will future proof the system by allowing the system to run on any hardware/OS that supports the virtualization software.
I wonder if anyone still actually uses lynx and for what purpose.