The Plextor UltraPlex Max 40 (PX-40TSi) is still the best drive for DAE (digital audio extraction, which is used when one rips or copies a CD). Even after nearly 5 (or more?) years, this drive is working flawlessly in my secondary system and still rips faster than nearly all my drives; its extraction quality is also the best out there. This is an amazing feat! Only the Asus 52X CD-ROM (CD-S520A) challenges the Plextor 40X in extraction quality/speed - the Asus matches the Plex in quality but is still a bit slower. My Plextor Premium extracts audio faster than the PX-40TSi and the Asus 52X, but the quality of the rips aren't quite as good as the former drives (though still above average, and certainly better than most drives).
Drives I Own:
Asus S520/A, Plextor UltraPlex 40TSi, Lite-on XJ-HD166S, Pioneer DVD-106S, Toshiba SD-M1712, Plextor PX-R820Ti, Plextor PX-W1210TS, Plextor Premium, Samsung SM-352B, Teac CD-W540E, Yamaha CRW-F1, Plextor PX-708A, Sony DRU-510A