Just remember that people who do not have problems with their 3550A will rarely post. You might get a skewed perspective about how good the burner is as a result. I, personally, am completely satisfied with my NEC 3550A and for $38, it's a great deal. I have had no problems burning CD-Rs and DVD+/-Rs; I haven't burned RW or DL media yet so I can't vouch for that but so far it's been burning everything well. I have not burned a single coaster yet.
In the end, you can't go wrong with burners like the current NECs, BenQs, or the Lite-ons as they are all relatively good at their jobs. With that said, the burner you buy might be defective and you will have to RMA it regardless of the brand. This takes a little luck... :iagree: