In a press release issued yesterday, Samsung has announced the release of an addition to their SpinPoint series. The SpinPoint S166 is designed to be a line of high-speed and "ultra-silent" desktop hard drives, in 80GB and 160GB capacities. While the size of these disks is nothing to be impressed by, the noise level is. At an average of 24 decibels they are significantly quieter than a typical desktop drive, even at 7200RPM. Supposedly, these will also be more reliable:

"... three breakthrough technologies are implemented in the new S Series to enhance performance and reliability. An improved fly-height control technology ensures better read and write sensitivity by dynamically lowering the fly height in read or write mode while maintaining a consistent and high fly-height across the disc in standard mode; an optimized actuator assembly for single-disk mechanism reinforces the reliability of the disk's mechanical functions and improves the non operating and operating shock characteristics of the drive; and an upgraded system-on-chip (SoC) controller provides significant thermal, disk data transfer speed, and power consumption enhancements."
Reduced heat, reduced wear on the mechanical components, reduced power draw and reduced noise. And all of this without sacrificing performance? Well, we'll have to see some real figures before we can trust that, but it does sound nice. Aside from that, there's nothing fancy about these disks - and definitely won't be aimed at enthusiasts. Where noise is a factor though, they might find a nice home. Samsung is not yet releasing any information on availability.