Yes and no. I'm looking for silent hardware beside the performance. And Samsung hard drives are silent even at 7200 rpm.
I don't think this is an unreasonable expectation. It is, unfortunately, shot down many times in the forums. Don't be foisted into accepting other persons' choices where it may end up being unsatisfory for you.
While I don't think any HDD is 'silent' (some noise is always present even after soft mounting and damping--depends on whether you can hear it over other noise, or go looking for
the noise), I would choose a 7200 drive if it was equally as quiet as a 5400 one but with a distinct improvement in performance. Many users on these forums have complained that the WD GP's seek noise is quite audible, even though it is a slower spindle speed drive.
If you are moving lots of data, run a DAW, or do full system backups, a higher performance drive to me is preferable to a slower one. However, if you are running an automated system, 24/7 machine, or HTPC, then performance and speed matters not as much since you are not physically there waiting for it to finish. The lower power use of a 5400 may also be regarded as a benefit in these situations. I only need to do manual backups and do so while I am physically at my computer, where a quiet/good performing 7200 drive like WD6400AAKS gets the job done quickly, and lets me shut down and do something else with my day.
Having said that, I recently bought a Samsung 1 platter 2.5" drive to test as a system drive for my new computer. Being in a hot ambient environment, I saw the advantage of using a low power, low heat drive, as I care about HDD temperatures as well as power consumption.
As for Samsung's Ecogreen 500GB platter drives, I think it is a welcome move on their part and for the market also. WD GP needs some competition--they shouldn't have the cake all to themselves.
Samsung HDD retail availability is okay where I live. Some models are often on a backorder basis. Prices are usually the best value. WD GP drives are stupidly expensive here, unless you managed to grab a bargain from a store willing to make 5 cents per drive profit or a loss in some cases.
From my own experience, Samsung drives are better made and packaged to the consumer than a WD equivalent. Samsung drives are mostly made in their own country, Korea, whereas WD outsources to Thailand and Malaysia for manufacturing. (I'd definitely go for a Made in Malaysia drive over a Thailand one if I had the choice.) Samsung pack it in a clamshell package with manual and screws for the average user, while WD pack it in a standard anti-static bag only. This does not make a difference to the experienced user, but for the average one, it shows a lot more thought for them on Samsung's part.