So I've got this great little Intel Mac mini. I hooked up a 500 GB USB Seagate drive to use for Time Machine. (I also have a 500 GB Seagate inside in place of the stock drive.) The external drive is always attached and the machine is on 24/7; scheduled to go to sleep at 1am. (It's a media center.) Within a few weeks, the drive was no longer showing up on the desktop. "Huh" I thought, and did the usual things: unplugged, replugged, rebooted, etc. Eventually I looked in DIsk Utility--nothing. Disk Utility on another machine saw the disk, saw errors, but couldn't fix them. I couldn't even format it. I was only a few months into the 5-year warranty (the long warranty is one of the main reasons I buy Seagates) so I sent it back in. They promptly sent a replacement which I connected in the same way and BLAMMO--a few weeks later this new drive (different SN--I checked) is exhibiting the EXACT SAME SYMPTOMS.
So--is my Mini somehow putting out bad USB juju and killing the drives, or did Seagate happen to make at least two really bad drives? I'd like to know before I send it in, and no, I don't want to buy another drive from another vendor to test. Has anyone seen anything like this happen?