The WD450AA is a quiet drive by almost all measures, though we have to give the nod to the Maxtor DiamondMax 60 in a direct comparison of subjective acoustics. Both drives feature indiscernible idle noise. Maxtor's drive, however, is just a tad less obtrusive when it comes to seeks. As a three-platter 5400rpm drive, the WD450AA runs cool to the touch and shouldn't be hard to integrate into even a cramped system.
Overall, Western Digital's release of the WD450AA allows it to keep up in terms of performance with the DiamondMax 60. Whether one looks at WinBench 99 or IOMeter, performance differences are about as non-existent as we've ever witnessed between two direct competitors. Maxtor's offering gets the marginal nod, only due to its slightly quieter operation and its availability in a 60 gig version. If one can do with 30 gigs, the Fireball lct10 also deserves a strong look. But if you're looking for quiet, competent 5400rpm drive and WD's 15 GB/platter drives are the only available choice at your preferred retailer, consider yourself fortunate nonetheless.