I really don't care what the reviews say, my DS has less noise at high ISO than my friends D70 and I certainly do care about image quality and my DS does not soften the image more than his D70.
Also his D70 consistently blows out the highlights, where my DS does not. He is a professional photographer committed to Nikon, but is still constatly amazed by the quality of the DS images.
Possibly you should get a DS and a D70 and do your own comparison like I did. His D200 although a great camera, is noisier than both the D70 and the DS, as you stated.