T.E.C dates...

i wouldn't bother placing too much faith in Panterasoft's HDD Health program's T.E.C. dates as they tend to change. If you uninstall the application then reboot and reinstall you will normally discover the date has changed.

The manufacturer's hard drive utility is most generally a better and more reliable indicator of drive "health".

I have several Maxtors and for me they are all silent. For others who sit at my computers however the drives are invariably noisy and "make strange clunking sounds". The difference? I can't hear nearly as well as most people. All of my Maxtors have been making the same sounds for their entire lives and are still going strong. 7200 rpm drives do tend to be noisier than 5400 rpm drives.

Vibrations caused by the specific manner in which the drive is mounted can make a difference in sound level also.

Sometimes the Acoustic Management Utility (AMSET and it can be accessed here http://maxtor.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/maxtor.cfg/php/enduser/olh_adp.php?p_faqid=1200 ) will help if the noise level is bothersome.

This management tool for IBM will work on Maxtors too:
http://ftp.uevora.pt/pub/Windrivers/Harddisk%20ATA66/IBM/

The noise most people complain about is the SEEK noise and not the drive bearings as they fear.