Just one comment here about Western Digital drives...Within the past 2 years, I know of 3 friends who experienced failures of their older WD ATA 33 2-GB to 3-GB hard drives. I am not sure if these failures are a reflection of WD drives as a whole.
At the office, we've been experiencing quite a few failures of Quantum 10-GB hard drives in our Gateway Pentium 500 computers. Those who have Dell computers (I don't know what brand hard drives) have not experienced any failures. Maybe others might be able to share their experiences in this matter.