As far as drive noise is concerned best 7200RPM drives are as quiet or almost as quiet as 5400RPMs, perhaps because manufacturers now put all their development efforts into the former. But heat, which is a factor in overall system noise, is a different story. I happened upon the Samsung SV1604N article at Tom's Hardware yesterday and found this drive temp comparison of note:
http://www.tomshardware.com/storage/200 ... gb-05.html
It's 12C cooler than the next coolest drive in the test (from our beloved SP series). There are no details on the methodology but presumably it's based on idle temp.
Unfortunately, manufacturers seem to have dropped their 5400RPM drives in droves. Many online computer stores here in Australia don't even offter 5400RPM drives for sale, and the SV1604N isn't available anywhere (the biggest 5400RPM Samsung distributes here is 120GB), and when they are they're often more
expensive than a 7200RPM of the same capacity. It's such a pity because these drives are cooler than their 7200RPM counterparts, perform better than 2.5" drives, and are (theoretically) the cheapest to manufacture. Although most people would consider them for auxiliary purposes like backup or video capture, they're more than adequate as primary drives. When's the last time you saw "7200 RPM drive required" on software's system requirements? I stuck with 5400RPM drives for years as my main deskop drive, most recently a Samsung SV0802N, before finally succumbing and buying a SP1614N given the lack of alternatives.