Is it me, or is it the Liteons?
I've had a number of Liteons, beginning with the 48125, with varying results with regard to the hardware failing. This has nothing to do with the media or the firmware, as far as I can see.
The 48125 started just great with zero errors at 48x burn speed in a variety of media, much of it low cost 12X stuff that was just laying around from my previous Sony 8X burner.
Over time, the error levels as reported by CDspeed crept up, and I started lowering the burn and read speeds, but I got an increasing number of unreadable errors even on TY (Fuji 24X) that had previously given no problem at 48x.
I finally gave up and got a Cendyne that was a 48x Lite-on of unremembered details. Was bad out of the box, details forgotten. I returned it for a Verbatim 522452AL, which ran great. The Verbatim FW worked fine, so I left the FW alone (I had assumed I'd reburn it as Liteon), and chugged right along. 52X burns on TY out to 80 min, no slowdown, no errords that CDspeed could see.
Recently, I started getting lots of slowdowns, and then lots or recoverable and unrecoverable errors. A recent CDspeed full test showed over 1.6 seconds for a random seek average, and today it seems to have died entirely.
Looks like a bunch of drives that progressively get worse (or start out bad), independent of firmware (no changes) or media.
It could be the position in my case is a bit hot, and that is not good for electronics - but it never bothered the Sony in that position. It's the top of a standard Dell case - Dimension XPS -T500, Dec 1999, and sits in front of the power supply, which ought to be pulling in a little air through the cracks. Never thought of that position as being hot till today, but it's a possibility.
It doesn't seem to be a matter of temporary heating - same if it's dead cold after a power off. It's not likely a dust issue, judging by the dust accumulation elsewhere in the case - below average. Case is a tower on top of a desk in a low traffic area.
My question is - are others seeing similar die-offs on Liteon CD burners, or am I just unlucky in the draw or perhaps have a local environment problem?