maxtorman: Thank you for your insightful explanations into this matter. You've helped restore my faith in Seagate from a PR perspective and I'm still open to buying Seagate hard drives in the future.
Now, in saying that, I'd like to know something about a certain SMART reading I'm getting off my 7200.11 500GB drive.
ATTRIBUTE_NAME FLAG VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE UPDATED WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
Raw_Read_Error_Rate 0x000f 118 099 006 Pre-fail Always - 169917319
Now this drive has 6295 Power On Hours, and has been in my PC for 9 months now, no problems so far. It actually outperforms all my other drives, including a Western Digital Caviar 500GB drive by a wide margin, so kudos on that.
However, I am slightly worried by this value that smartctl is reporting, as NONE of my other drives have a Raw Read Error Rate higher than 0. Nine months in, nothings wrong, still I can't help but feel that this number is going to come back and haunt me. Luckily I have a 7200.10 that's free that I am now backing up my data to. Despite this value, the drive still passes SMART testing, so it obviously hasn't passed the threshold yet.
So, my question is this, is my drive on a road to premature failure? Should I contact Seagate support over this issue, or wait until the drive becomes unusable? Does this number have any significance, or is it a known issue that I can ignore?