I have a random collection of IDE hard drives in the described 1-10GB range, but I don't use them much. Several have some bad sectors but some are still in good working order.
I have 4x Seagate Barracuda ATA IV 40GB drives that I bought on eBay a few years ago and 2 others from Maxtor of the same size, so I tend to use those. They've been reliable. Not too long ago I was still using one of the Seagates as a boot drive on a file server. Most recently I'm using one of the Maxtor 40GB as a 32GB on a socket-7 machine. I'm shrinking it, but not by very much.
The drives I really like are 7200rpm SCSI drives. I really like the ST34371W which is a 4.3GB Barracuda. It has a very cool sound to it, but mine both died. I've also had a couple similar IBM DDRS-34560 that I liked.
I have a perfectly working 10K Cheetah 9.1GB, but I don't like it as much. It's too loud and not as cool sounding as the 7200rpm drives.
About a year ago I bought a Seagate Barracuda ST12550ND 2.1GB on eBay. It might be NOS - seller didn't "think" it had been used and it was totally, completely clean.
This was apparently Seagate's first series of 7200rpm drives. I found a few ancient newsgroup posts about it, the main complaint was heat. IIRC they came out in 1993 or 94 but mine is from 2/95. I've been wanting to build a Pentium60 socket4 SBPro system, and I'd love to use this drive in it.
Mechanically it starts and runs fine. It's about as quiet as you'd expect from a 10 platter 7200rpm drive with ball bearings.
There are 2 problems. This is a high voltage differential SCSI drive, and it has a Unisys firmware.
I've only ever used it with an AHA-2944UW HVD SCSI controller and with the correct terminator (which was not easy to find - I almost decided to build one), but I can't get the controller card to see any capacity in the drive. It reports zero size. I tried to do a low level format (via the SCSI card's menu) but the process doesn't seem to do anything, after leaving the warning screen running for 18 hours I gave up and turned it off.
I don't know anything about Unisys, but according to the ancient internet I think they made some kind of external storage array thingies. That might explain how a drive like this could plausibly go unused (maybe it was a backup for somebody's array). I think their modified firmware is causing the problem. Unfortunately I didn't find any sign of a firmware for these drives on the internet, and I don't know if it's even possible to reprogram it.