I think he just overloads them and thrashes them to death with the emulation packages he runs... hehe
Or it could be the pails he keeps the PCs in... lol
But seriously, hard drives do "breath", and I think people forget that. They have a small filtered or semi-sealed hole in them somewhere on the case to allow at least pressure variations between outside and inside. The inside is, of course a very clean environment and needs to stay that way. If the breather hole is compromised, the drive will eventually die due to contamination.
I see a lot of cases that don't allow breathing (they cover the holes) and have terrible airflow around the drive, or even mount drives at positions that aren't really ideal. And then I also see a lot of PCs with too few mounting screws in them. Vibration is also a killer. Make sure they are mounted right.
Most of the drives I'vepurchased over the years last 3-5 years. I usually do a high-level (OS) reformat yearly, though.
Oh well, the drives are cheap enough - it's the data and downtime that isn't!