I usually buy at amazon or ebay, now-a-days stick to Western digital brand, they're sturdy ones to my knowledge
seagates and samsungs are not that good as used to be.
How did you know your harddrive is crashed? Do you see boot/harddrive device found message or just coz it's black/blank you assumed it's dead?
I would use BootCD to make sure my harddrive is still there intact , if this is the case, probably, your MBR is corrupted. If you can't detect anything using BootCD either, then sure enough your harddrive is dead.
If MBR is corrupted coz of some virus, or file deletion or bad sector or whatever misfortune, I would use BootCD to retrieve data to another backup drive, but if it's dead presumably, I would still take that kaput out and try some of these tricks,:
1. get the drive out, put it in freezer for about 2 hours, take it out, shake gently for a min and after 10 minutes insert it back to the laptop. Make sure it's not moist. Since some laptop drives(mine is SSD+HD) are still spindle/plate based, this trick might get your drive run for short time, back up everything as fast as you can if you are lucky enough to see the drive come back to life
2. get the laptop drive out, hook it to IDE/SATA to USB adapter
and attach it to another working computer, and now you can try your luck using some data recovery software to retrieve the data off of it.
This is what I do most of the time, it's like hit-or-miss. You can try it.
Lesson no. 1: Always keep back up drive hooked up to your workstation, I've 3 external portable drives. I've not seen laptop with RAID system yet, so, that's the only option for now, keep multiple portable backup drives, and sync it, set it on automatic backup mode.