There is not a best hard drive company. They all try hard to please customers and outperform each another. If one makes small improvements on their drives, they patent it and the other companies inmediately try to copy it or do something similar.
When buying hard drives, decide how fast you want the drive to be (RPMs). The speed of the drive influences almost everything else: price, performance, noise, power consumption, etc.
Visit the different manufacturers to check out their latest models.
Then, search the web for reviews of the models are interested in. Finally, go to eBay and purchase one.
Totally agree with what you say, except that I don't trust samsung hard drives. I've used 3 of them and all of them keep failing on me. Not to mention a samsung cd rom as well. Rest of the brands are just fine.
Don't just look at the speed (rpm's) look at the drive's cache! 16mb cache 7200 rpm drives perform nearly as well as 10,000 rmp 8mb drives.
The 3 companies that goldeagle2005 presented are in my mind the best as well. They all provide decent products with good warenties. I think Maxtor has the best deals when it comes to price vs performance though.