OK, I have a MBP with a dying hard drive. The precise model is the late 2008 one. Besides the repeated and persistent delays with any HD-related operation and wrong reporting of avaliable free HD room (it dropped suddenly by 10 GB to increase again by itself to previous levels without any significant change in what is stored inside), there is also Techtool reporting that the disk failed to pass the drive hardware test. So it is definitely something hardware related.
(1) Before buying a new drive: could a loose cable/connection give all these problems?
(2) Do you have any recommendations about a new hard drive? As of now the MBP has a 250 GB one at 7200 rpm (BTO) but my local stores do not seem to offer anything similar. Can this model use an SSD?
(3) What about reliability? For example among the 5400 and 7200 rpm laptop models, is there any consensus today?