I've yet to see a 500GB external hard drive for less than $80, even on Black Friday. But Buy.com has the Micronet Fantom Titanium II 500GB USB drive for $69.99 shipped (after a $20 mail-in rebate). That's a lotta storage for not a lotta cash. (Somewhere my old grammar teacher is feeling faint.)
This 7,200-rpm drive promises solid performance and near-silent operation, as it's housed in a fanless enclosure. It's not much to look at, but, hey, you're paying for gigabytes, not glamour. CNET hasn't reviewed the drive, but a couple users gave it high marks.
In addition to the rebate, there's one small catch: This is a recertified drive. Normally that would raise a red flag (used storage? No thank you), but I'm increasingly convinced that recertified/refurbished gear is at least as good as new, if not better. Plus, it comes with a one-year warranty, just like a new drive. Let your conscience--no, your wallet--be your guide.