Noise levels remain unchanged with this sample. The drive grinds away when seeking... significantly louder than, say, the Fujitsu MAJ3xxx. One should keep active cooling in mind when incorporating the Atlas 10k II in to a case that isn't well ventilated.
In conclusion, the Atlas 10k II's improvements in its IOMeter scores over its prior units allow it to lay claim to just about every SR benchmark, low or high-level, as the 10k champ. We realize the drive has suffered a somewhat maligned history due to our testing of multiple samples as well as the drive's scarce availability... nonetheless, sweeping figures like these are hard to ignore. The Atlas 10k II is the fastest 10k RPM drive around.
Speaking of availability, the drive has been shipping "in volume" since early June. Unfortunately, a general scarcity of parts that have been plaguing the industry as a whole combined with strong demand from OEMs has kept the Atlas 10k II from appearing in mainstream channels alongside offerings from Seagate and IBM. The rather steep estimated price of $949 likely reflects this shortage. Hopefully the supply problem will ease up as time passes. Once its pricing is in line, the Atlas 10k II is the drive to get.