I was curious about this 180GXP drive since people have been talking about it, so I picked one up 2 days ago (60GB model). With AAM off, the seeks are audible, about the same as the 7200.7 with direct mounting. The idle whine is a small notch higher than the 7200.7, too. However, you can barely hear the idle whine when the case is closed (I'd say it's acceptable). With AAM off, the seeks are a lot more pleasant -- almost like the Barracuda IV like MikeC said.
It does happen (less frequently now than when I just got it). Funny enough, when I am not using the computer at all (ready to go to sleep) it doesn't do that. But when I am occasionally accessing HDD, it will make the noise every so often. I can definitely live with that considering the performance gain.
Now to the chirping noise. I must say this is the most annoying part of the drive! I didn't hear it for a while. Then, once I got the OS installed and started using the system, I heard it. It was much louder than I had expected. This is in a near silent system. It lasted for about 2 seconds. It does sound like some type of full disk seek. Will this thing go away after some burn in time?
The "cricket chirp" description is appropriate -- the first few times I heard the 120 GB (120GXP? not 180) in my server box doing this I was spooked, thinking it was some weird power supply or fan failure. It's the weirdest drive noise I've heard...
I must agree it is the weirdest drive noise I've heard, too. To me, the first half of the noise sounds like a full seek across the disk. The 2nd half sounds like 1 second of random seeks.
I find the interval to be unpredictable. I will have to pay more attention now that I've "caught" these 2 second seeks at least 3-4 times now.