I am in the same situation as you, Davka.
I have been using NEC 3520A for a few years, great drive, however it started to fail on me one week ago.
I bought the Pioneer 215 instead because my motherboard still have plenty of SATA connectors, while it only has 2 IDE connectors. It came with stock firmware 1.13, I have burned 2 discs without problem. However it is louder than 3520A when it spins up.