The 22x Samsungs are not really great drives. The later firmwares helped them quite a lot, but if I had to choose between the Optiarcs and a 22x Samsung, I'd get the Optiarc 7260s or 7261s. Lightscribe capability is the only difference between those two Optiarc models.
If you heard a rumor about DRM added to the Sony drives, that is false. Sony has added some DRM functions to their PS3, especially regarding Cinavia audio watermark protections, but their computer drives do not, nor have they ever had such "additions". All computer dvd drives do have dvd region settings, but you won't get around that with any brand without custom firmware.
Optiarcs are not particularly quiet drives. Not as bad as most Lite-on's I've heard, but it isn't one of their greatest strengths. The quietest drive I have is an ancient BenQ, but my main drive is a Samsung SH-S203B, and it is very nearly its equal in that regard.
By the way, Geeks.com is a reasonably reputable shop. They have better ratings than TigerDirect at ResellerRatings.com
Don't think they can match Newegg for service though.