Seagate makes a major marketing push when it comes to emphasizing the quiet operation of the Barracuda ATA IV. Have they succeeded? Absolutely. When it comes to both idle and seek noise, the 'Cuda exhibits floors perhaps matched only by Samsung's 5400 RPM drives. Truly an amazing achievement since Samsung's own 7200 RPM drive can't lay such a claim. Ever since Seagate's Medalist Pro ST39140A (the first drive to feature a fluid bearing motor) hit the scene, many have hypothesized that fluid bearings lead to increased heat generation. The two-platter 'Cuda ATA IV, however, became only warm to the touch even after extensive use.
In conclusion, while the Barracuda ATA IV doesn't shatter any records, it undeniably carves out a place for itself on most folks' short list. Though some 40 GB/platter competition looms on the horizon, the 'Cuda, an early arrival, holds its own against current-generation units... while generating significantly less noise. Those who want the utmost in capacity and/or performance should stick with Western Digital's WD1000BB. For all others, however, the 'Cuda IV is a viable option: 80 GB, competitive performance, whisper quiet operation, and last but not least, a reasonable price.