To Dell or not to Dell?

Oh no!  It seems that my 4 year old Dell desktop may be dying.  Recently it's started this strange thing of powering off for no reason. It then tries to power on again straight away but the light on the power button flickers on and off repeatedly and you can hear it start to boot up then stop, repeating this numerous times until I have to hold the power button down to get it to shut down properly, then reboot.
I have been tempted to get just a new external hard drive, simply because the hard drive on this desktop is getting full but now I'm thinking I may need a whole new machine!  I always buy Dell so clearly that's my choice again, although I'm surprised at how much their desktop machines are now compared to other manufacturers.  The one I'm after is the Inspiron 3000-Series Small Desktop but that's still £269 without anything with it! Hey Dell - do you offer a student discount?  I'd hate for it to be time to shop around.
However, I'm pleased that Dell do just a desktop unit without the monitor, etc. I have a perfectly good Dell monitor, a mouse that works and an ergonomic Microsoft keyboard (although I need a new one of those too). I love the ergonomic keyboards as since buying my first one some...gosh, years ago, I've never suffered any kind of wrist/hand strain from all the typing I do and, let's face it, as a full-time PhD student I do a *lot* of typing!

I may have to invest in some PC technology soon then it seems.


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