Those not exactly thrilled with the noise levels produced by the Xbox 360 + HD DVD drive combo will likely adore Asus' latest, as it gives HTPC builders an uber-quiet alternative to playing back HD DVDs without having to replace one's rig or purchase a standalone player. The "world's quietest" HR-0205T optical drive handles dual-layer HD DVD discs and basically every flavor of DVD and CD, too. Asus swears the unit can play back an HD DVD while emitting just 21.1dB of noise, which could reportedly be compared to a "quiet auditorium." Regrettably, there's no word on a price or release date, but considering that this thing couldn't burn an HD DVD if its life depended on it, we'd hope the price would be fairly reasonable to compensate.

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