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I'd agree with the SSD but 256GB upwards (128gb too small) is out of budget for now.
PC is 4 years old, Q8200 quad core job upgraded to 8GB RAM and a new graphics card but it won'd last forever and my guess is that by the time it is replaced, SSDs will be the norm for O/S and cheap as chips for smaller sizes and thus nigh on standard fayre for new PC builds. I might even be dumping PCs for laptops in any case.
In the end I went with a 500GB WD Caviar Blue for £46 on Amazon. Bullet proof customer service, decent guarantee and cheap with Acronis imaging to transfer current dodgy C: to new drive (well, that is the theory !).