For what it\'s worth, the only drive that has ever failed for me is a barracuda iv 80G (among the best on the list above). Same situation for a friend of mine, same drive. I know that this isn\'t statisically meaningful, but the lesson here must be: Have a backup, even if you believe your drive ought to be a reliable one!
Here\'s what I do (and yes, it has saved my butt twice recently!) On my windows systems, my partitions are all the same size. This means I can move partition images around easily. If I\'m backing up a C: drive, I use DriveCopy (from Powerquest, not crazy about it, but it works) to copy my C: image to another drive, so that when I back it up, the drive is not being used. Then I use Nero (from Ahead) to backup a partition to cdr\'s. I can\'t do parial restores, but this solution is cheap and effective.