Originally posted by Yani2000
And I ran IDE Filter 1.20a and uninstalled the VIA IDE driver (I have VIA Apollo KT133 chipset on my MB and I've read that it causes trouble).
It doesn't always cause problems, though... If it ain't broke...
It could be a number of things, as you did a lot there, with patching the FW, removing IDE drivers, and nuking/reinstalling Nero. As both the readhack and auto-BS patches made only very minor changes to parts of the firmware that don't have anything directly to do with burning, I doubt that it's the FW patches.
You say that your burning programs are maxing out your CPU? This sounds like a problem at the interface level. Are you in DMA mode?