I just, about two weeks ago, replaced my burner, a completely forgettable Samsung, with a Sony-Optiarc AD-7261S with which I am comletely happy.
I use it mostly for audio CD ripping with EAC and other than my old NEC drives I've never been entirely happy with the function of anything other than optiarc drives.
In "Secure mode" the new Sony Rips CD's in about 40% of the time that my LG or Samsung drives would do the same job in burst mode
Waiting 2min and a few seconds for a CD to rip is infinatly preferable to waiting 5min+
Plus there are certain discs that I keep specific copies of on hand
purely as test articles, typically because they are often trouble to rip...
for example Rob Thomas "Something to Be" dual sided CD/DVD gives problems ripping the audio on many drives.... NOT on this AD-7261S
or my old ND-3550
Any drive that will rip this CD and do so in under 3min in secure mode is damned good.
Not exactly "Scientific" by Hydrogen Audio standards but it is a consistant repeatable test that tells you what you really want to know