The Diamondmax Plus 45's heat and noise levels are par for the 7200 RPM course. Though it isn't nearly as quiet as the Fujitsu MPF-AH or the Samsung SpinPoint V10200, the Plus 45's noise should be tolerable by most... it's along the same lines as its predecessor. Several hours of extensive churning (IOMeter's default, completely random access pattern) resulted in a drive warm, not hot, to the touch.
So, where does the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 45 rank in the grand scheme of things? If you agree with manufacturers that WinBench 99 is the ultimate measure of workstation performance, it does very well indeed. The Plus 45 vies with the IBM Deskstar 75GXP as the fastest ATA drive ever. If, however, you find IOMeter to correlate better with your own observations, the Plus 45 is far from anything to write home about. For our part, we believe the Deskstar 75GXP successfully defends its crown as the best 7200 RPM drive around. The IBM posts WinBench 99 scores that are the equal of the Maxtor while also delivering IOMeter results that rival the Quantum Fireball Plus LM; truly the best of both worlds. At an estimated street price of $179, however, the Plus 45 is subtantially less costly than the 75GXP. So, if you need a drive less expensive than the 75GXP but larger than the Fireball Plus LM, consider the DiamondMax Plus 45.