For such a large drive, the Barracuda 180's operating characteristics are tolerable. Idle noise, while noticeable, isn't particularly obtrusive. Seeks definitely churn away though. The drive operates hot to the touch after extended seeks in our compact testbed case. Make sure the drive's either installed in a well-ventilated case and/or is actively cooled.
In conclusion, the Barracuda 180 obviously isn't the drive of choice for a power-user looking for lots of mass storage. Per gigabyte it costs much more than a large IDE drive such as Maxtor's DiamondMax 80. For applications requiring massive amounts of protected data, however, the 'Cuda 180 is probably the only choice. It offers five times the storage capacity of previous-generation drives while matching their performance and is available in interfaces that allow flexible integration into a variety of setups.