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Looking for some help on external hard drives

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I am looking to purchase an external hard drive to back up some decent sized data files, I am a grad student (translation=broke) I found two on sale this week and was wondering if anyone had any experience with either one. The first is the Maxtor 100GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive Model: U01E100. The second is the SimpleTech 40GB portable drive.
I am leaning towards the Maxtor due to storage and price ($10 cheaper) I am not really concerned with the weight (2.6lbs) but if anyone has had a bad experience with it, or a great experience with the simpletech I would really appreciate hearing about it.

I also can't seem to find out what the housing on either one is made of, I have been told a heavy gauge alluminum is preferable to stamped steal and plastic, anyone know what these are made of?
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I would not buy any maxtor drives. Two have died on me in the last four years, and my son's 18-month old one is showing signs of imminent failure which he is claiming a free replacement for. maxtor has recently been taken over by seagate but still selling them branded as maxtor. Don't know if that's improved the quality but I won't chance it. They are cheaper for a good reason, and that's why OEMs fit them mostly.

I've never had a seagate or WD drive fail on me. That must mean something.
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