I came here when I bought my 1st DVDRW about 6-8 months ago (and even my 2nd or 3rd CDRW a few years back) as I had to sell my old box a few years back and due to $$ problems as well as a few legal problems (a "forced" vacation if you will) I wasn't able to build one until then. Just as a point of reference, before my hiatus, I remember seeing a Memorex(?) DVDRW at BestBuys for either $299 or $399 at the time and remember thinking that DVDRW was starting to become affordable just like my very 1st CDRW which coincidentaly was a Memorex 2x2x4 or 4x2x4 or something like that, I'm sure you all remember as that was the 1st one I noticed that was somewhat affordable at the time. Sorry bout my off topic stroll down memory lane
Back on subject....I noticed most ppl here recommend the BenQ, and a few ppl I know are very happy with them also. I was originally going to purchase one but at a local computer show they had a Lite-On 1673s for like $50. At that time most ppl weren't necessarily bashing them, but rated the BenQ or even NEC I think a better buy, which suprised me as the Lite-On CDRW's used to be "THE" recorder to buy, especially for copy protections. So, I figured with my past experience with Lite-On, the decent price, and most importantly, my inner child screaming "I want it now, 2-3 days to wait for UPS is too long!!! NOW NOW NOW!!!" I decided to risk the 4 bits and get it.
So far, so good. I've burned maybe 300 going on 400 DVDs and not 1 coaster other than a daring overburn, and not using necessarily the best media in the world, but not crap either. I will note however that most of my discs have been 8x due to they always seem to be the one's on sale, so I can't really vouch for 16x other than a few I tried that were cheapies and either the drive or software wouldn't allow past 12x (I think they were Dynex, yeah, I know...). No probs with CD-R or CD-RW either. I can't comment on any dual-layer as the price is still too high and I haven't had anything that forced me to have to use them yet. Lastly, I went with the hacked 1693 firmware a month or two ago and have had no problems at all with that as well.
In close, if you happen to come accross a deal or end up getting a Lite-On I don't think you'll be disappointed. Hope this helps a little anyways, I know I can't vouch for the most current model, but going by their track record I'd say no worries.