Does the NEC ND-3520 suck, or is it my media?

I’ve had my NEC 3520 DVD burner for about 6 months now and have backed up about 50 or so DVD’s.

I’ve been using two different types of DVD media so far, both Memorex 16x DVD+R, but from two different batches and it looks like two different manufacturers (media info posted below).

Anyhow, from time to time I checkout my backups to make sure they are ok copies, and I would guestimate out of the 20 or so I have checked out about 60% of them have some sort of problem.

Some of them have trouble being read, on all 3 of my dvd players (LG-3401, Xbox (hacked), Panasonic RP-62k patched to newest firmware).

Some of them start skipping about 1 hour into the movie but are still watchable.

Some of them stop playing about 1 hour in (unreadable?)

Some of them start skipping 1 hour in and then are unwatchable due to the dvd skipping ahead etc.

I have tried the original stock firmware on the drive, and two of the updates (including the most recent).

I prefer to use the hacked firmware so I can do bitsetting of the booktype. I have tried the original Liggy and Dee firmware, the newest Liggy and Dee, and then the one that is the newest stock with speed lock and bit setting enabled.

To be honest I have tried so many combinations that when I do have a good copy, I am not sure what settings were used when it worked.

To put it simply… I am frustrated that this is such a pain in the butt. I have a friend who has backed up over 400 DVD’s and he tells me he has only had 1 or 2 that didn’t play back right. He bought a el cheapo external burner and whatever media is on sale.

So my question is, what do you guys suggest? Should I try new media? ( i have an unopened pack of Verbatim DataLife DVD+R 8x that I hear is pretty much the best)?

Or should I just ditch the ND-3520 and pickup something that works better?

Editing to add media types:

Memorex 16x DVD+R version 1:

Manufacture Code: RICOHJPN
Media ID: R03
Product Rev: 004

Memorex 16x DVD+R version 2:

Manufacture Code: PHILIPS
Media ID: C16
Product Rev: 001

To find out what others think of recordable media check here:

I’ve got some 4X Ricoh made Memorex and they burn wonderfully on the 3520 at 8x. It’s been a touchy burner for me though. It doesn’t seem to like TYG03s at all. They are -R 16x. It has problems at the leadin every time on this media. Every disc skipps a few seconds at the beginning. I’d recommend using lower speed media. I think the first few 16x burners to hit the market were far from ready with the 16x capabilites. I’ve also had issues with my Pioneer 109 on 16x media.