Well, it does seem odd that you have so many drives act the same way
Well, I think my problem was I never really shopped for quiet drives
The 2 maxtors were older models, and the older maxtors were well-known for their noise.
The 60GXP was a great drive, and really I had no complaints with it except for the whine. That drive I eventually gave away (complete with system) to my parents a few days ago.
This WD 120JBB is driving me insane, however. It took a *lot* of digging, but I eventually came upon several reviews, comments, etc. specifically pointing out the WD 120 drives as having a highly annoying high-pitched motor whine. These comments were a combination of Newegg.com customer reviews (taken with a grain of salt...but several comments pointing to the WD 120 drives) and various noise-oriented websites.
Oh well, eventually I ended up going with a Seagate 120GB model (PATA...I felt a bit uneasy using a "3rd party" SATA controller that is on my A7N8X-Deluxe and like Nvidia's IDE performance anyway).
The drive I ordered had a truck load of nothing but positive comments about noise and performance, so I caved in and purchased.
I love my WD's speed, but krikey the whine is driving me nuts.
*** Tech Note:
Not a heat problem with these drives, which I'm sure some may suspect...here's my setup:
Drive mounted in Lian-Li PC-60(B?)USB. Vertically mounted in front of the 2 intake fans, so plenty of cooling for the drive.
AMD XP 2500+, retail fan / HS.
Also: (1) 80mm exhaust, Thermaltake 480W PS (with its own speed control).
Nothing overclocked. System temperatures all low. Ambient room temp around 76F.
That being said, the case fan is definitely next to go. I think the WD hard drive and fan are fighting over noise supremacy or something