|So you get the noise ONLY when using (reading or writing) discs and the disc is spinning in the drive? That would rule out a cooling fan or HDD bearing. This only happens after 20 minutes or so of constant use? That sounds heat-related. Does letting the drive sit unused for some period of time (to cool down), with the PC on, help at all? What kind of noise is it? If it's a CONSTANT whining or shrieking, happening as long as the disc is spinning, I would suspect a bad bearing. If it's a REPEATED noise -- something like a "clunk clunk clunk", it sounds like the head is trying to seek to some place and failing. Have you noticed if you're getting data read errors while this noise is going on, or that data reads take a long, long time?|
Excess heat inside your machine could be causing a head seek problem. As it gets warm enough to get out of spec, the mechanism could expand or warp to the point where it can't be precisely positioned. Check that you have free flow of cooling air in and out of your machine, that all the fans are working properly (there should be at least two: inside the power supply, and blowing on the CPU heat sink), and that there isn't a layer of dust on everything. Of course, your room is already at a "reasonable" temperature (your PC isn't sitting next to a blast furnace, or on top of a heating vent)? Have you modified your machine in any way, such as adding additional Hard Disk Drives? They can put out a lot of heat -- you may need to add another cooling fan.
If that doesn't do it, I'm stumped. The only way you'd get 5 duds in a row, which I find hard to believe, is to buy really cheap drives. If you were trying to write to really cheap off-brand discs, or discs too low speed or of the wrong type, that could cause problems, but you say that even CD-ROMs are failing.
By the way, how loud is LOUD? Have you had a chance to compare the noise to other people's machines? All fans and drives make SOME noise -- is this one really louder than all others, or do you have very sensitive hearing? Also, the machine's environment can affect your perception of the amount of noise. If it's in a bare room with hard floor and no upholstery or other sound-deadening material, it will sound much louder than the same machine in a carpeted room with curtains and upholstered furniture.