Dead WD1200 & WD3000JS, what should I check?

I’m kind of new to SATA drives, but have used older IDE drives from the small ones measured in MB’s to as large as 120G.

The first drive [Used WD1200] I had in storage for about a year, then after a month of using it I started having data corruption.  Luckily I was able to save important data before it failed completely. 

The second one [New WD3000JS] I purchased to replace the older one, and again about two months in I began having data corruption.  However, this one was sudden with much worse data corruption than the WD1200, but in an odd twist, the drive doesn’t click and the BIOS can still read it just fine when connected to the computer.

Right now I’m using a Seagate 40g that I had laying around and it has been working fine, so I’m guessing it’s not the mobo, but then I’m not extremely tech savvy.

Anyway, here’s the best info I have so far about my system…

Compaq DC7600

3.0ghz +ht

2 x 1g 533mhz Non ECC Ram (Mem tested and no errors) 

365w PSU

Nvidia 8400GS 1gb

4 SATA ports (1.5g/s & 3.0g/s support as is reported here)

3 different SATA cables (New and old for checking cables).

OS: Slackware 13.37

Smartctl on the 40g SATA reads a temp of only 37C, the WD3000JS always read around 42C (Being a larger drive, that’s probably normal, though.  A 500gb SATA drive we have in a Dell reads about that as well, and that drive is several years old).

Well, what are some other things I could check out to make sure that if I purchase another HD I don’t go through this again?  Or what may have caused this in the first place?  Or why is the 40g drive working and the 120/300g drives would fail?

  

Thanks.

Charles 

PS.

I forgot to mention that I had ran the WD diagnostics on these two drives before the first one failed and while I was having issues with the second one.  The primary question that I really want answered is “Is there something I can test to ensure it’s not my system that’s causing this trouble?”.  The reason I am curious to know this is because of all the IDE’s I’ve had over the years I’ve never had a used/new drive fail no matter how old that the drive might be.  Granted it could be a fluke, but I’d like to make certain before I fry another SATA drive again, they may not be too expensive, but they’re not exactly cheap either.

“Data corruption” is a vague term. Did you actually run any hardware diagnostic test on the failing drives?

Yes, I did run the WD diagnostics for the newer drive.  I also ran it with the older one before it failed as well.  Both returned an error and said they had to be replaced.  Even the DPS self test in my BIOS told me that it needed to be replaced.