I have a variety of external drives, including a few LaCie d2 drives, though I stopped buying them after one failed: the drive was OK, but the case electrics weren't. I have a Wiebetech Combodock so that I can hook up bare drives externally. It is very convenient at times. I've had no problems with an 80 GB WD Passport that I use for transferring large image or video files. My current main external drives are two Burly Boxes each with four WD RE2-GP 1TB drives, arranged in pairs as RAID 1 drives, connected via RocketRAID eSATA controllers.
I have a simpletech...It's done fine for me. I've had it a couple of years. I did read some awful reviews on it after purchasing but have *knock on wood* never had these issues. Now I use the hard drive from my old laptop that I converted to an external...It's MUCH more compact and doesn't require an AC adapter for power.
Im about to get a 2.5in 320gb. Not sure what manufacturer yet. Been waiting for prices to come down because the olds are paying for it because once I get it, I'll be able to transfer all my stuff off my desktop computer and give it to them then run the external off the laptop as storage.
Common across the whole industry. It's not just LaCie. I've experienced all makes of drive suffer from the same kind of failure - the internal bridge between ATA/SATA just packs up - and/or in the case of larger drives the power supply packs up.
LaCie, like virtually all other "external drive suppliers" buy the electrics from China (or insert the tiger economony of your choice here) in a common form factor, and then provide you with the trendy branded case - which is the bit you pay for.
Buy a drive housing and a drive, and build your own. It's cheaper and just as reliable.
Well...... I got a Western Digital 1TB external hard drive tonight. I was going for a Seagate, but it wasn't in stock. USB and FireWire. Had to get a dual-port FireWire card to install on my tower, but that shouldn't be a problem. Damn it's cute. Smaller than my 300GB.