Did you take any special measures to quiet the optical drive bay?
My optical drive is a Sony NEC Optiarc AD-7201A-0B. I mounted it in the top slot of the optical drive bay, using the stock screws (all eight of them). Nothing is mounted in the lower bay. Any help you all could provide would be most appreciated, and thank you for the awesome review.
No special effort was made... and the noise with the optical drive running was not tested.
Why not? Because at "full" read/write speed, no optical drive is quiet. The standard practice is to reduce the read/write speed of the optical drive using software -- Nero has had such a feature for years, and so do most of the optical drive write software. I generally set my CD writer/readers at 24x or slower. W/ DVD writers, since their top speed is only 8x or 10x, you'll want to drop them down to 2x or 4x.
Especially if all you're doing is watching a movie, the drive needs only to run at 1x.
There is also the possibility that your Sony/NEC is noisier than others. I've personally been using mostly LG and Samsung (and the odd Asus) which are pretty smooth and quiet, especially when slowed.