I'm looking for a DVD drive, preferably burner, that is as quiet as can be during boot up. Most of the ones I've used sofar produce a whirring sound that's too loud for my taste during boot up (they're fine when idling it's just the boot up that's pretty obnoxious).
I have a Plextor SATA optical drive. It does not make any noise when the pc boots. The power led comes on briefly and that's it. I also build pc's for friends, neighbors, and girlfriends. Never had a cd-rom disc drive, dvd drive, or optical drive make noise when the pc starts.
DVD drives don't make noise unless there's a disk in it on boot up or when you access the drive in Windows. My DVD burner makes a hell of a ruckus when it's reading at 22x but it doesn't make a sound on boot up or if it's empty.
I'm on board with the OP. I hate unnecessary noise. I will totally throw something out that is just noisy, even if it works well (or at least give it away). Sounds to me though that the CD/DVD drive he's using is basically old and something is up with it. I use a cheapy CD/DVD-R and so long as there's no disc in it, it's completely quiet and never spins up. When a disc is in it, I can totally hear it (and I go so far as to basically copy any disc put in there, no matter what, so I don't have to hear it at all).
b) the drives are pretty old so that might be part of it
Yeah if the thing is old, it's probably going to make a bunch of noise. They get dirty, and stuff wears out for sure. And since lots of folks tend to re-use their CD/DVD drives when they upgrade each year or so... well the optical drives tend to get old!