As for win 7, maybe this will help:
Using recommended media I don’t see much difference in writing quality between both models. This would be only natural, since the “2” is after all nothing else than the original drive with some extra features.
In theory the “2” may benefit from it’s newer firmware because it better reflects the actual situation when it comes to blank media, especially their actual quality, which has gone down a bit over the last years. On the other hand I’ve not yet seen a definite advantage of the “2” in that aspect.
I’d hesitate to call any drive the ultimate ripping solution. The problem is every drive has it’s own ‘likes’ und ‘dislikes’ then it comes to handling problems when reading optical media. Plextor drives usually do a lot of stuff right to begin with when it comes to DAE but even they may not make everything happen.
These threads have useful information on whether to prefer the “2” over the original Premium or what the advantage of the Premium(2) compared to non-Plextor drives is when used for ripping:
OTOH since the Premium2 is pretty much the last quality CD-RW in production out there it pretty much makes it the best combined ripping/writing solution.