Well, I have had all of these products.
I have found that a BenQ is the most durable of the products.
It also give the best and most compatible burns to use in set-top players.
Even overclocking the read speed does not disturb the best-in-class quality reads from this drive. No other drive can read soiled and scratched media with such good results. They are large, heavy and warm, but they are awesome in quality.
Unfortunately, I was not able to test the LG products very long because they, and all of their replacements, died due to the poor quality. Burns on various media with all of the LG units caused several different types of set top players to lock up due to poor compatibility. An especially quick way to rush the LG's inevitable demise is to flash load a factory update using the factory recommended file. This usually causes a non-recoverable performance hit that is so severe that the drive is unusable. Before their deaths, I noticed that LG was far faster than I had ever experienced. For service, LG will eventually send you a replacement unit that is the next model up, yet works no better.
Lately, I have been impressed with the Lite-On products. While not as fast as the other two on DVD, the read speed can be switched up to 16x or 12x at your choice. 1673 does not appreciate 16x reads, but I supposed this depends upon firmware version.
DVD operation is noise free and error free with no troubles or issues. ATA66 interface may be installed any way you like on an 80 wire hard drive cable (the current standard) and even slaved to a hard drive, with no troubles, no slowdowns of the attached hard drive. The true hard drive interface makes installation a very pleasant, fast experience.
The Lite-On is tiny and cool running, so this makes it the number-one choice for small format computers. Perhaps, it is the only choice where size and heat is a concern.
With CD recording and game play. . .Well, I call it the LITE-ON CD ATTACK MODE!!! Put in a CD and its no longer noise-free. There's no doubt that something is going fast as your computer is dancing around the desk and a strong breeze is coming out of every conceivable crevice. This adds considerably to the entertainment of game play. Having built a small format computer that makes no noise, it is such a sensation whenever I put in a CD. Like the identical Sony products, it is blazing fast on CD operations. Until the CD is removed, there's some sort of bizzarre sound. Oh, but it is truly fast.
My choice would be the BenQ/Philips product (wherever they can be applied--some are overly long, such as my pair of 1620s).
This is because quality results and firmware updates that do not damage or irritate the drive are primary concerns with optical drives.
My BenQ products have also survived the following:
Direct lightening strike
Power supply blow out
Inserting 2 discs at once by mistake
Cat sitting on tray
Temperatures that would cook pork
Wrong voltages--very wrong
User error during flashing--re-flashed and all is well
Operating upside-down (don't even ask)
Child using it to chop carrots
Burning DVD while full of carrots
Accidental enclosure of a Q-tip
Well shredded paper label lost in drive
Accidental enclosure of a cocktail
Having been through all of that, the BenQ product works. . .
Just as perfectly as the day it was new.
I recommend installing the BenQ/Philips in the lowest (coolest) bay of a mid-tower style computer case with the recommended A-Open reader product above it. This will provide the very best in speed and quality available in optical drives today.
*I believe that some of the failures of optical drives are caused by the very popular fan-on-the-bottom power supplies. These harbor/cause intense heat in the top of every computer that uses them.
Installing low in the case is one option.
This brilliant device,
is another option. It is a very overdone vent to install in the top drive bay.