Originally Posted by Particle
They've had an unfortunate number of models show very high defect or failure rates. As far as I know the most recent models are fine, but the damage to the brand's image among power users active during that time frame has been done.
Honestly Seagate and WD have about the same failure rates at this point, I personally don't buy the other brands. Western Digital RMA system is bar-none in my opinion and I get cross-shipped replacement drives in 1 or 2 days after submitting the ticket.
The most important thing when buying hard drives is where they were purchased from. How they are stored before being sold and how they were handled is far more important than brand. Newegg has terrible reputation for packaging and storing drives bad. Just look at Western Digital Red reviews on Newegg, then on Amazon. Both have a large number of reviews, yet Newegg is 3 stars with many users reporting DOA or bad sectors and Amazon 5 stars. It's the same pattern for many other HDDs.
I've bought a lot of drives in my lifetime, and I stress test drives for 48-72 hours before putting them into servers. I have about a 5% failure rate from Amazon, however Newegg has about a 1 in 4 (25%) failure rate for me. Bulk is even more reliable, as you remove the middle man and tend to get them right as they come off the factor line. I've only had 1 drive be bad in a couple 20-drive carton purchases.