If you didn't partition the drive, as you say, then nothing will be on it, unless it was part of a RAID set. So I'm assuming you mean something else.
It all sounds like the drive is having physical problems, it might be wise to determine that first. Check the drive's health. You can do this by using the DiskPatch demo version, or be installing the latest iRecover demo and selecting the drive, then right-click and select "SMART information". If you go with the DiskPatch demo version, read this: http://www.diydatarecovery.nl/dp_manual/guide_smartcheck.htm
It actually sounds serious enough to consider cloning the drive, if you really need data from this problem drive.
Upgrading is always a good idea when in an actual recovery situation; lots of things have been improved so you'll probably get a better result with the latest version. Having said that, your version should do fine and you may well decide to upgrade only if things don't work out with your current version. That's all up to you.