Due to the complexity involved in getting a good 7200.10, I could really use a boutique electronics shop right now. This type of shop would pre-screen hard drives for the correct firmware, correct country of origin, correct labeling, and correct acoustic behavior. Their stuff would cost more money, but to an end user such as myself, well worth the trouble of avoiding the lottery and RMA. I'm not sure how they would be able to remain in business assuming they deal with many rejects, but I can dream on. For example, I just purchased pairs of vacuum tubes that cost more to be "matched and balanced"--something like this, but for hard drives I'm thinking.
I usually wait until hard drive technology capacity is double my current hard drive, yet density is enough to keep it on two platters. That to me signals a buy period, and that policy has kept me upgrading before hard drive failure later on. Right now my buy target is 320GB on two platters--this means 7200.10. Good enough to double my current capacity and keep two platters, and yet small enough to allow the likely 640GB on two platters in a few years time.
I'm limited by small form factor PCs, meaning by default, one Raptor hard drive for OS, and one large capacity drive for everything else. Any hard drive unreliability would be a major setback... I do not have the fault tolerant modular options as most, with their quad-tuplet-SATA and PATA ports.
Right now I've got my shaky trigger finger hovering over NewEgg's "ADD TO CART" button, full of doubt, apprehension, and unrealistic optimism. My eyes are squinting, my face is locked in a grimace, braced for the painful impact ahead. I tell myself to think logically using the facts available and make the best decision possible with calculated risk management, but my guts are still screwed up.
I could really use a boutique electronics shop.