I have an Iomega Prestige desktop hard drive (1 TB) which I purchased from Amazon. I connect it to my white Macbook (purchased late 2007, 2.14 GHz with 2 GB Ram), open Disk Utility. I click the single partition on the disk, choose "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" for the Volume Format and leave the name as-is. When I click "Erase", I get the following error after only a few seconds:
Volume Erase Failed with the error: The underlying task reported failure on exit
If I try to create a new partition with the same filesystem, I get the following error:
Partition failed with the error: File system formatter failed.
This is the second disk I've tried this with - I sent the first one back to Amazon thinking it was defective, and they sent me a replacement. Obviously, it's unlikely that I managed to procure two defective drives, so I'm thinking there may be something wrong with my machine.
Another note - I've tried doing the format with the disk connected to both USB 2.0 ports on my machine, as well as connected through a USB hub. The behavior is the same, regardless of how the drive is connected.