I'm helping someone buy a new Mac. The iMac is a much better deal than the Mac Pro, but we're getting stuck on the optical drive. The person's work involves a lot of reading in burned DVDs (photos, artwork). The iMac optical drive is only an "8x Superdrive", while the Mac Pro's can supposedly read at 18x (specifications). I haven't found any drives that can read at that speed and can also burn.
Can we beat or at least match the Mac Pro's internal optical drive with an external? The iMac has USB and Firewire 800 but no eSATA.
Price is not an issue; it could help us save $1000 on the computer & monitor. If you had to buy an external drive, what's the absolute best drive you would pick?