The funny thing is it depends on which model you have. I had a maxtor diamondmax 9 prematurlly fail (120 gig) and it really pissed me off that they replace it with a three year old refurb. While it left a bad taste in my mouth for maxtor, I have to admit, I'm running mostly maxtors and no falures (outside of the 120 gig). When the maxtor 120 gig failed, I happened along this site
If you look at thier reliability survey, they have some fasinating info on various hard drives. It is basically a database of user reports on specific models of hard drives. The 120 gig that I had had very high report of falure while other drives of the same line but diffrent size did not. I don't think that I would buy a hard drive without looking here first. I'm not trying to say buy a maxtor either. I havent looked at them latlly, they could have totally gone to hell. I just wanted to point out how diffrent models form the same manufacture can have very diffrent reliability.
Fyi you have to register and give info on one of your hard drives to see the info on storage review. Trust me, it is worth it. If you are looking for a hard drive, you can pretty much look up the exact drive you want to buy.