Yes, hard drive quality/reliability has gone down. Way down.

Sadly, computers (as well as their internal parts and components) are no longer made to last. In the past, it was reasonably to expect that a computer would still be functional long after it's too slow to be useful anymore. Hard drives were replaced to upgrade to a larger capacity--not because of hardware failure.

Nowadays, it is common for the hard drive in a brand-name desktop computer to die after a couple years, and it's even more common for the hard drive in a laptop to die in a year or two. I no longer use or recommend mechanical hard drives for laptops, unless the laptop is an older model which uses IDE interface. Otherwise, a quality solid-state drive from Intel or Samsung is the way to go. For desktops, a commercial-grade hard drive is necessary, and well worth the additional cost.