They're all pretty much equivalent. Its more luck of the draw than the brand as far as whether you get one that lasts 3 years or lasts 6 years. I would keep an eye on Newegg's refurbished and open box sections, sometimes you can find great deals there. It doesn't need to be particularly fast or the very newest model, you just need your data in more than one place.
Appreciate the help. There's a good deal on a 500GB drive from Buffalo for $50 in a store near me.
Yeah, fully agree after what happened. There should definitely be more than one place for my data. This is not the first time something like this happens. About a year ago my laptop's internal HDD crashed, i got the blue screen of death (not sure if thats what they call it exactly), but i could only boot in safe mode. Luckily i had all my stuff on my external drive and it literally saved my ass xD