I have the Plextor 708A and the 712A. They have both been trouble free and burn great back-ups! I am extremely pleased with the Plextor 712A's ability to rip disc: it is quick and accurate! The bundled software that comes with the 712A is second to none, but I do burn with Nero 6. Please read the reviews on these two Plextor drives and you will concur with my opinion. Also, I plan to buy the Plextor 716A as soon as media becomes available at the retail level. I don't play the Prototype game. When double layer media becomes available by the millions: then I will buy the Plextor 716A.
As for media; Verbatim seems to have an edge as number 1. However, I also use Maxell & Fuji made in Japan DVD-R discs.