I've had a lite-on SHW-160P6S for a couple of months now. I have burned over 200 CDs, DVDs, and PS2 games without (knock on wood) a single coaster. Haven't tried dual layer yet. It is much quieter than my old Samsung burner. I would highly recommend a Lite-On burner. Oh and it cost me $37.99 at the time.
I've had a Lite-On DVD-RW and a Lite-On CD-RW drive for about a year now, burned at least 400 discs in the CD-RW and about 100 in the DVD-RW and never had a single one fail on me. They're fast, quite (as much as you can expect them to be anyhow), and inexpensive.
Plus, last time I checked, Sony bought Lite-On drives and slapped their name on them... With a markup, of course.
I've had fantastic luck with Lite-On. I think they build for some of the brand names too, like some Sony models but I like the Lite-On versions better anyway. Pretty hard to go wrong and the price is right.
I used my Lite-On straight out of the box, no firmware updates at all. Of course I don't know how long that model had been out before I bought it though and that is the first Lite-On I have purchased for myself. We have used Lite-On burners a few times where I work with no firmware upgrades with no problems. Ultimately, I have had good experiences with the brand so far so that is what I would recommend. I'm sure there are people with bad experiences with the brand too. I think that is how all products work