I assume this is for desktop use?
It's fairly obvious you haven't read the reviews because if you did, you would know what your statement is patently false.
The Maxtor 10K III TRAILS the Raptor in the majority of the desktop benchmarks, in addition, the Raptor is 8 dba quieter and 9 C cooler, the 10K IV is slightly ahead of the Raptor but it is 10C hotter and 6 dba louder. Head over to Storagereview, hit the database button and take a look.
If you're familiar with dba ratings, you know how big of a difference that is. Let's also not forget the increase in case temps.
Eugene, the owner of storagereview has been using the Raptor for a few weeks now and has stated that the Raptor is as snappy as a 15K drive. Comment is somewhere in the forums.
In the server benchmarks, the Maxtor takes the lead. However, if you aren't serving, it means absolutely nothing and should not factor into your purchase decision.
If you want the best and money is no object, get a 15K Maxtor or a 15K.3 Seagate.
Several merchants have received and sold their initial shipments of Raptors with more to come... I think that's a clear indication it is in the channel. Given the fact that SCSI drives aren't available at most large chain stores, I'm sure you will be able to track a drive down at the same or a similar type of merchant wherever you are in MN.
FYI a 10KIII is going for $220 @ CompUSA.
P4 2.6C, Thermalright SP94/Panaflo 92MM M1A, IC7 Max3, Swifty MCX159, 1GB Geil PC4000 Ultra Plat, Radeon 8500, Audigy 2, 2X WD Raptor RAID 0, WD 250GB SE, Plex 708A, 166SDVD, LianLi PC75, XP Pro.