What kind of motherboard (or ATA/IDE controller) do you have? On Nforce based systems sometimes better to use the default XP IDE/ATA driver and not to install the Nvidia IDE drivers. On the other hand, if you have some older Intel based motherboard, you have to remove IAA (Intel Application Accelerator) to make the ODD drives communication more stable, especially if you want to use two drives simultaneously on one IDE channel.
In my experience Pioneer and NEC drives are working much better at UDMA-2 an 40 pin cables with many motherboard, so if your BIOS support to set the communication mode manually, give it a try.
Other resident CD/DVD-programs like emulators can interfere with the drives communication, if you have installed Alcohol, CloneCD, BlindWrite etc. than try to uinstall these applications before you do anything else.