once again thanks for your response, i have now tried 5 branded 8X -R discs and they all fail, PiData, Ritek, Ridisc G05, Memorex and tdk, so i think i will take this one on the chin and leave it as it is.
i do not want to lose the macro free option and the 3 hr comes in quite handy, i am aware that i may be able to flash back but dont want to risk it. I had hoped that there was a direct replacement unit that could just drop in but my machine is 4 years old and the technology has changed so much within the drives creating varying degrees of success and disappointment, if you do stumble across a unit that seems to work ok with the 098 firmware which can simply drop in please post it and i will give it a go. i had an optiarc AD-7170A which WILL NOT WORK with the 5005, i will keep putting drives in as and when they pop up.
many thanks for your support on this one.
i will have to get a stack of +RW disks now....:sad: