I'm not familiar w/ spinrite (although I have heard some good things as well as some "extreme" marketing for the product)
I usually do a quick 5-pass read/write test on all my new hdd's under linux, any bootable distro is fine and run "badblocks -swv /dev/hda1" (or "badblocks -swv /dev/sda1" depends on the controller) immediately after creating a single ext3 partition on the drive.
Can't say I have had one fail on a new disk, for older ones if I get any errs a low-level format usually does the trick.
Data recovery professionals will all tell you that SpinRite is a drive killer. It's probably OK on new drives, but if your drive has weak heads, SpinRite will only accelerate its failure.
As for marketing, ask yourself why the screenshots on the SpinRite web site show a 200MB drive. Yes, that's right, 200 MEGAbytes, not GIGAbytes. The answer is that SpinRite is practically useless for drives manufactured in the last 20 years. In fact it breaks a cardinal rule of data recovery by writing recovered data back to the damaged drive rather than to a clone.
There really hasn't been a purpose for Spinrite in about 15 years or so. I used it extensively in the early nineties but with the advent of S.M.A.R.T. (previously Intellisafe) and various tools from the drive manufacturers, Spinrite just kinda died off. Gibson moved on to other things but as far as I know, none enjoyed the success of Spinrite.