Just a note to include my experience with CD-R drives
I was a Plextor fan all the way until last year when I purchased my Teac CD-W540E.
I have experienced some failures with Plextor drives.. My 40X reader failed a week out of warranty. My 8x20 SCSI burner started to get flaky about 1.5 years after I bought and installed it.
I have not had any problems with the 12X10X32 Plextor scsi burner in my old system.
I bought my current drive, the Teac CD-W540E, just about a year ago. I have been using it fairly heavily without any single hint of a problem. I have used mostly TY media and burn a lot of data backup CDs as well as custom audio CDs for the car. I've never had a coaster and the burned discs read in anything I put them in. (My mid-90s Discman plays the audio CDs... this is definately a sign of a good burn - it's ultra picky!)
I run Windows 2000 and use Ahead Nero. The CD-W540E has proven itself a rock-solid performer that I can depend on. I also like the fact that I was able to get one in black, to match my case.