DVD Addict, please back up your claims with some data (facts, not heresay). This being the internet and all, I don't have the benefit of seeing your facial expression (smilies aren't the same) but your post seemed a little harsh.
The tests that I've seen suggest the opposite of what you're saying, that Maxell media isn't that great. I've not personally tested it on my system so I have no comment. The tests I've run support that CMC media outperforms Verbatim AND Taiyo Yuden (both real and fake) on the 3520. Maybe my testing was flawed (I used DVD Info Pro and a Pioneer A06 to read the discs, I suspect that the A06 has some bugs as it would often report spikes in the same locations for just about every disc regardless of what drive it was burned on). Maybe there's something about the 3520/A06 burn/read combo that yields false results. Maybe by chance the batch of Verbatim and Taiyo Yuden (real) media that I compared it with was from a bad batch.
To make a blanket statement that "CMC dvd media is crappy to begin with" just doesn't support my experience at all. Yeah... maybe it wasn't great when they (Memorex) were manufacturing 4x discs and used Prodisc as their manufacturer, I'm not sure. "Cheap" doesn't always mean "bad" and "expensive" doesn't always mean "good". "You get what you pay for" is definitely a saying that I generally find to be true however there are often exceptions. My NEC 3520 for example is a FANTASTIC drive and it's one of the cheapest burners available on NewEgg. It seems to outperform many other drives in terms of burn quality.
As for the $5.00 warranty.... There seems to be a number of people who are having trouble with this drive (slow burns, burns that can't be read in other drives, lack of support for certain media), and more specifically they are having trouble with drives manufactured in October of '04 which is what I have. Normally I never buy warranties (as a matter of fact this is the first one I've ever bought) but for 5 bucks it seems like pretty cheap insurance. If this drive does break the $5.00 will have been well worth my money as it will have saved me TIME. I run my own business (I'm a photographer) and this is the slow season right now but when things pick up my time is EXTREMELY valuable (I work 70+ hours a week, I don't have time to be dealing with faulty equipment). To be able to call up NewEgg and say "it's broken, you guys deal with it" and not have them hassle me.... yeah, that's worth 5 bucks IMO.
Here's what I know so far:
As of yet I have not been able to burn a fake Taiyo Yuden disk at any speed from 4x on up. I'm not too concerned about this because my own experiments indicate that the fake stuff isn't that great HOWEVER... the NEC 3520 burns to this media without problems and the results, while not stellar, are certainly acceptable.
With the 8x -r Media at 4x the BenQ produces unacceptable error rate when compared to the performance with this media on the NEC 3520 at 4x (which so far has yielded better results than Verbatim, Sony, Prodisc or Taiyo Yuden (real or fake).
Burns when compared to the NEC are slower. How much slower? I'm not sure what the average is yet. If it's within reason, and if the performance of the drive is comparable to published test results it won't bother me but otherwise I have reason to believe that something is out of spec.