I do favor Maxtor drives as well, they are pretty reliable now (compared with how they used to be). WD used to have some issues, but the refurb does come with warranty. I don't think you can say one manufacture is worse than the others, since they all have their issues. IBM is the exception here, with their IBM Deathstar product, but they sold their storage business to Hitachi.
For this price, you can't go wrong if you use it in a HTPC scenario. The only problem is that it is IDE, so you can only hook up to 4 drives, unless you add another IDE controller.