The Intenso media was probably OPTODISCOR4, which was not the best to try for a first burn; it's not on the Plextor-recommended list:
(Short list: Verbatim, Maxell, Taiyo Yuden)
As for burning software, full-version Nero offers a lot of filesystem choices (ISO, mixed-mode, UDF) and natively supports a lot of data formats (ISO, bin/cue, NRG)
You can use Plextools for burning test discs (Write Transfer Test section) and also for scanning the results (Q-Tests section). The combo of Nero + Plextools should meet all your immediate needs; you can branch out after that.