Here info on 80 vs 40 pin cable
On cleaning laser lens
That should be a start at least.
Reason why to use Verbatim is that it's one of few media people would use that works well in either 4.7G or 8.4G capacity. Also it is problem free compared to alot of media out there. Also it gives better burns and playback.
On drives connect to 80 pin cable you have to set one of the jumper to MS and the other to SL otherwise it won't read or write correctly without it. Otherwise some if it is the only drive some will work without the jumper set to either settings and some will require you to set the jumper. So check with the manufacture of your drive as each drive might be set differently from the other drive model.