I certainly understand the desire to avoid mail in rebates. I've had some bad experiences as well. So that is definitely a valid point, although the LTR-48246S from newegg doesn't require a rebate either.
The 8 MB buffer is a plus but, in my opinion, it is less of a selling point these days. Computers are faster now, and burners now all have buffer underrun prevention technology. I have an 8 MB Yamaha and a 2 MB LiteOn, and neither ever gets close to draining its buffer when I burn (although I have to admit that for the short time it takes to burn I don't do anything else on my computer - old habits die hard...
I was wondering if you were looking at newegg for the Optorite as well, since the price and shipping matched.
It is your choice. Either one would probably suit your purposes. I would still personally go for the LiteOn because there are a lot people around here who own them and can help you if you have questions, and because there are a lot of useful utilities that work with LiteOn drives (CD Doctor, WSES, Mtkflash, Flashfix, etc.) None of these (with the possible exception of Mtkflash - I don't know what chipset the Optorite drive uses) will work with the Optorite as far as I know. And, as I mentioned, if you really want the few extra seconds that 52x burning buys you over 48x burning, you can easily flash the LTR-48246S into a LTR-52246S.