The all time best is the Plextor Premium (no where near $45, closer to $75) and it is CD only. Many consider the Liteon SOHR-5239V to be the next best choice at around $26. I have the Premium and I don't regret spending the $50. It adjusts burn speed on the fly to match the quality of the media and the C1 errors are 80% less than any DVD burner I have.
Head over to the CD & DVD Copy Protection forum and do some reading. That's where I learned everything.