Despite its record-breaking 10k RPM performance, the most intriguing aspect of the Atlas 10k III may very well be its acoustics. Maxtor states that they "designed in acoustic levels of a 7200 rpm drive into a 10,000 rpm drive." All too often phrases like these are merely marketing hogwash. Amazingly, however, the Atlas 10k III at idle turns in noise floors little different from that of today's 7200 RPM ATA drives! It's by far the quietest 10k RPM drive at idle that we've yet heard. As one would expect from its swift access times, however, the 10k III's seeks are a different story. They're rather loud and churn away. Nonetheless, overall lack of noise is admirable. The 10k III runs quite warm to the touch after extended heavy usage. Active cooling may be warranted in many cases.
Overall, though it can't compete with the 15k RPM offerings from the competition in high-end server and database applications, the Atlas 10k III is nonetheless a stellar performer. It delivers the highest performance to date for a 10,000 RPM drive coupled with the quietest idle noise around. It's 73 gigabyte flagship capacity also outstrips that which 15k RPM drives offer. Thus, if you require lower noise levels or higher capacities than what 15k RPM units offer, the 10k III should be your choice.