more personal preference than "what's the best". Some people may have had better luck with one brand over the others. I personally prefer Lite-On drives. I haven't had a problem with any of the 2 Lite-On DVD+/-RW's that i've had. The only problem i've noticed though with DVD+/-RW's so far though, is that i don't believe they can burn CD's at the max speed of a normal CD-RW drive can (52x... or what is it up to now? 56x?) Think the highest that both of my Lite-On's have for CD-R's is 48x....... yep... that's what it says for my newer one, which is a 16x DVD+/-RW. That's why i kept my old Asus 52x CD-RW drive in my computer too. but i'm kinda thinking about now putting my other Lite-On back in my computer.... then i could do direct DVD-to-DVD copies instead of having the stuff get cached to my hard drive.
edit: yeah, i'd like one of those SATA optical drives too...... would be nice. and Bman.... i don't believe that drive is a DVD burner. Usually they're referred to as just DVD-RW, or DVD+RW, or DVD+/-RW if they're dual format, because any DVD burner can burn cd's. the one you put can burn CD's only, and it can also PLAY dvd's, but not write to them.
I was looking at Tigerdirect, which I found Toshiba / 16x4x16x DVD+RW / 12x4x16xDVD-RW / 5x DVD+R DL / 48x24x48x CD-RW / OEM Black DVD Burner.......so I was wondering if anybody possibly could compare that one with the NEC Black IDE DVD Burner Model ND-3520A. For what I can see there the same, but I do not know.
I haven't had any problems with NEC's over the past few years. I have a LiteOn on a relative's computer, albiet only a standard CD writer, and it does the job well. There's also Plextor, which I really like, but to be honest it's more of 'paying for the brand' nowadays
The label has to say:
To handle all common formats. Do not confuse DL (dual layer) dual format. Dual format just means it does +R/-R on the DVDs.
If you want to burn DVD ROM blanks that is a $pecial extra feature not commonly found.
As for brand. Lite-on is supposed to be tops but I returned one that was a POS. A friend bought the same model at the same time and his worked fine until he retired it for a faster model. I'm currently using a Maddog that does everything at top speed and it has never made a coaster on any brand blank.
I think it's pretty much whether you get a good unit or not.