I have a 4TB WD Red 5400rpm drive I purchased a year ago, dead silent, just a slight whir/hum as it spins. It has never made the well discussed thud/clunking sounds.
I just installed a build date July 2017 WD Gold 4TB, and it DOES have a 5 second audible noise, but it is EXTREMELY FAINT, and I have to basically be able to see the bare disk drive to hear it in a quite room from a foot away, and I was specifically straining to hear it. The noise sounds like the head whisking quickly, and that’s it, no reverberation or thud, and barely louder than the hum of the platters spinning. Transferring 2TB of data to the fresh drive at 165MB/s was also whisper quite, cannot discern any disk activity noises.
I held off on buying a new WD 7200rpm drive for a year because of all the talk of the 5 second tick, and went with the Gold because although it also has reports of this issue, it also has reports of not having the issue, or the issue starting after time. I concluded that if it can exist without the noise, then it was worth the risk of purchasing, knowing I can return it under warranty. So basically I just wanted to throw my build date into this in the “mine is quite” column for those seeking a resolution to their ticking drives.