Topic says it all. I originally thought about a Seagate Barracuda like the ST3400620AS but after reading some newegg reviews, both it and the the 320 gig version got quite a few "drive too loud" comments for my tastes. What do you guys think? How is Western dig for noise? Thinking about a 320 gig -- WD3200YS or WD3200KS part numbers (whatever the difference is between them might be).
My seagate drive is almost never heard over my other system components. My system was quite quiet too before the 1950Pro which is a lil loud on startup. It isn't the same model as the ones you're considering but heres something else to think about. I both work in IT and have done it on the side for over 10 yrs. My seagate, first seagate I bought btw is going strong after 3 years of well above average use. I have went through dozens of WD hard drives in the last couple years. This is not very conclusive evidence as every company puts out a lemon from time tom time but I've seen so many WD drives die soon after building a PC for someone that I'm a bit wary of them in personal use. At work I don't control the brand of drive the company buys so can't help them there.
Besides that little tidbit there remains the fact that although some site report seagates as being louder, there are others that report the WD as louder. The difference is often there but negligible and Seagate has a 5yr warranty.
Price being nearly the same I'd go with Seagate hands down until I see any strong evidence to sway me.
I've two of them in my new pc, I have to get my ear up to the case to actually hear them (and even then they are only just audable, oh and the PC is really rather quiet). I've also got a second 4yr old pc that uses seagates and they are just as quiet (though thats not much of a trick my second PC can sound like a helicopter taking off at times , I'm never using 80mm fans again) Like Talon I've just replaced a first generation SATA drive with a newer model and that drive has been used 8 hours a day everyday for the past 3.5yrs and that's just an average day, at times it's been going for a good 24hrs on more than a couple of occasions (mainly when I've been rendering animations or doing video work and left going).
I've used seagates exclusively for the past 4 years and the noise they have generated is really rather minimal, I'd seriously doubt you'd ever notice them over the rest of the system. I dare say I'll be using seagates for the forseeable future.