This is the direct quote from your post-
The problem that you are having really seems to be a media problem-
I have had the 2500, 2510 , 3500 and 3540 and all seem to prefer -R medias (at least in my systems). I have always gotten steller results with the Taiyo Yuden, Verbatim or Maxell 8x -R's and have had very good CD-R results with both TDK (ritek mids) and Verbatim (ritek mids) and have associates that just love the Taiyo Yuden CD-R's.
If you read more in these forums - you will find that the NEC's are the best user group supported and the Benq and LiteOn are probably the best manufacturer supported all this is in reference to firmwares-
We have found that user errors/bad installs is the #1 cause of bad burns - followed by crap media and a distant third - the drives themselves-
Remember that an underutilized drive will tend to collect dust and when that is on the laser lens - can mean nothing but trouble for writing-