I have bought Western Digital drives for a long time, including those bought for friends and family. So far, I have come across one drive that failed, which was replaced efficiently by Western Digital.
The drive is very good value, and turns in a good speed also. I don't have measured figures, but I do play games whilst downloading patches and demos from the internet. All of my downloads go to this drive, and there doesn't appear to be much stuttering in the game. My drive is also pretty quiet, and appears to run quite cool. I have seen drives by Maxtor and Seagate which either run hot, noisy or both, so I'm pleased with my purchase.
Western Digital's website has forms for filling an RMA for a faulty drive. You can check whether the drive is still under warranty. When it comes to a replacement, you have the option of sending the drive to them, awaiting diagnosis before the replacement is sent, or if you are prepared to pay for a new drive, they will despatch a replacement immediately, and refund your money once the fault has been confirmed. Which you chose depends on how speedy a service you would like.
I bought an OEM drive, which is the bare drive only, because I already know a little about computers. I would imagine the retail boxed version would have some instructions and cables, but don't quote me on that. :-)
The price for hard drives has plummeted recently, so you would probably be looking at about 50 quid for a 300 GB drive. There are larger sized drives available, although the price of these are still quite high, the 300 GB is a good GB/£ ratio.
I would recommend this drive if your machine is a little aged, and you don't have any SATA ports. If, however, you do have SATA ports available, then I would recommend you go for the SATA version of this drive. Although it's not a great deal quicker, you would proof the drive for future upgrades. Most modern motherboards have SATA, so this could be an important factor.
I have noticed that Western Digital SE drives used to have 16 MB cache memory, but the later drives only have 8 MB. This could well be a cost-saving issue, as the speed comparison between these and 16 MB versions is negligble.