Originally posted by: Tostada
Plextor, BenQ, Pioneer and NEC have all had drives which could be qualified as "best" in many areas.
Plextor because, well, it's the best.
BenQ because it's like Plextor but cheaper.
Pioneer because (at least in the last generation) they were the cheapest and had the best ripping speed and even the best quality on a lot of media.
NEC because they're usually the cheapest and are at least close to the best write quality.