My Barracuda LP just crashed after a little more than 2 years of life. Always been disturbed by the strange noise it caused, even suspended. My system-HDD, a 7200.12 500 GB is what concerns me a lot, while it doesn't make the same amount of noise it still shows the same patterns while running a diagnostic too. Am I to be worried about this drive or will it last until the time I decide SSDs are cheap enough?
Hard Drive manufacturing engineers have pretty consistently stated that suspending a drive is not good for drive reliability, and technically they do not provide a warranty for such installations (although obviously you aren't going to tell them that it was suspended if you did return a defective drive under warranty). I don't know if this has been proven, but if a drive already makes a lot of noise or vibrates much while suspended, it does seem logical to me that suspending a drive could exacerbate reliability problems. There a quite a few threads on this subject from years ago on this forum.
Another factor in reliability is drive speed. It is easier to make a more reliable drive if it runs at a slower speed. Also, a quieter drive (not coincidently these are usually the ones that run slower) may be more reliable because there is less friction in the bearings, etc. The build date is also important, since drive technology (including low friction bearings) are better now than they were 5 years ago (and light years ahead of 10 years ago when most drives vibrated more than a "personal" massage device).
Regarding the reliability data posted above, those statistics are not reliable (no pun intended), since it is based on return rates, not necessarily long term failure rates. Some drives may be more likely to be returned for reasons other than drive failure, and besides, those numbers are likely dominated by DOA (dead on arrival) samples (or drives damaged during installation) rather than returns based drive failure after some period of use.
Personally, I use combination of SSD and WD green drives (1-2 TB). The WD Green drives are securely mounted with the silicone grommets that come with Antec drive trays, and I can't hear the drives, so there doesn't seem to be much benefit of suspending drives anymore (unlike the old days when I first joined SPCR). File caching improvement in Windows 7 has significantly reduced the need for fast seek times IMO, assuming one has sufficient memory. Obviously, there are some applications where drive speed is important, including for commercial databases, but they all use RAID configurations with hot swap spares, regular backups, etc.