High-performance external? Also: Mac-PC compatibility question

I need to pick up an external hard drive to capture video to in Final Cut Pro, so its intended use is on a Mac. However, compatibility with Windows XP and Windows Vista would be a big plus. I was looking at Seagate's website because I've had good experience with them in the past. Their knowledge base has a couple of articles on setting up hard drives to be compatible with both, but they caution that it is risky and that one corrupted partition will force you to reformat and lose everything.

A few questions.

First, any recommendations for a fast, reliable external hard drive, preferably about 500 gigabytes in size, that meets my needs? The last time I used an external (someone else's external), I captured first onto the internal hard drive and then transferred all the raw files onto the external. Is it okay to capture video directly onto an external?

Second, do you agree that a cross-platform hard drive is precarious to maintain? I own a USB flash drive that is compatible with both Macs and PCs. Is it so hard to make hard drives that are compatible across platforms?
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More about high performance external also compatibility question
  1. It's not hard - just make sure it's formatted as FAT32. Any hard drive should work if you do this.
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