The 36XL's reduced platter count allows it to run warm but not hot in our rather small testbed case without using active cooling. Integration into larger cases shouldn't be a problem. Though seeks are fairly quiet, this review sample featured an idle noise harmonic that vibrated the entire case, creating a noticeable though not overly distracting hum. A previous sample that we've used didn't exhibit this harmonic- we'd hazard that the noise was peculiar only to our review samples and isn't representative of the vast majority of 36XLs.
Overall, despite its "evolutionary" nature, the Cheetah 36XL does an admirable job in improving the performance (and, as one hopes from reduced part counts, reliability) of Seagate's celebrated line. A quick glance at StorageReview.com sponsor Hyper Microsystems reveals that while the 36XL's only slight more expensive than the Cheetah 36LP, an Atlas 10k II may be had for significantly less. This isn't surprising- after all, the 36XL is a brand-spanking-new unit while the 10k II has been around for a while. Seagate's pricing may be come more competitive after a few months. When it comes to absolute performance, however, the Cheetah 36XL establishes itself as the 10k RPM drive to beat.