i have used both in the DVD only world...it was awhile back....
I have to say they both last about the same time...
Look at the pioneer and see if they still have a feature called laser memory...
If you leave CD's in the drive and get pissed off about the spin up(lag) from time to time when you are doing things this helps that allot....or at least it did for me.....but it was more important in the windows98 days
Now with XP and since i have autorun off it never checks the drives till i want it too.....so all is good.....but if you find that you have to wait on cd rom spin up now and then with a game or other disk left in.....the pioneer if it has laser memory will be a good idea....
i think the build quality is similar....but Liteon's can be flashed region free if you import DVD's. And if pioneer still has laser memory....well it has advantages.
basically, go with wichever one is cheaper. u will not see the difference between two brands except maybe in sound cuz lite-on is kinda loud.
only benchmarks (like nero read-speed test or w/e) will tell the diff. the worst the speed can differ is like a minute or 2 between the brands.
First of all I like your avatar. Go for Pioneer. I have a Pioneer car stereo, home stereo, DVD theater, and DVD-Rom drive in my computer. I have never had any complaints with their product. Pioneer participated in setting the standard for DVD.
I've got 3 Pc's in my house, two with twin burners. Built upgrade and maintain 13 in total in ex's houses and family members.
I've used Sony, LG, Lite-On, Pioneer, NEC, and Plextors.
The only one I had repeated problems with was plextor failing about every 6 - 9 months. But plextor delivered a new drive the next day on reporting it with new warranty from delivery date, something they did twice more after that. So poor drive but excellent service.
The others are really much the same, although the Lite-on is noisiest and NEC generally queitest (with one NEC exception which sounded like a helicopter taking off and deemed not faulty by NEC when sent back, but they did refund my money after further complaint. But it put me off them) Sony seemed to have the shortest shelf life but that was still 2 years plus, but life expectancy is determined by number of burns rather than time served and it got some hamer.
Speed wise varies with the media used playing a big factor. Especially with DVD's. If you visit their home sites they normally list recommended media to use for specific drives for optimum performance and speed. Some media sites list the registed compatable drives for the media on sale, like svp. An example my LG 16x drive will burn a full DVD in 4.56mins to make an image from source and 3.57mins to burn the copy using Ri Disc Xtreme 16x Silver printables and Nero 7. Same source but using DataRite Titanium 16x white printables takes 7.24mins to burn the copy of the same disc.
Some media and copying forums also have custom fireware for set drives to increase compatability and speed. Though very effective especially at getting 8x discs to burn at 16x speeds, using a custom fireware voids your drives warranty
Down loading latest firmware often increases your drives compatability list with various media and sometimes ups you performance time on existing media. So always worth checking and updating every few months whatever your drive.
For overall media compatability NEC and LG seem to cover more media options than their rivals, but sony has a decent compatability ratio.
lastly burning on the fly. Source drive plays a major factor. For one you won't burn on the fly at 16x speed with a 16x speed burner if the source ROM drive is a couple of years old and has a maximum speed read of only 8x. (A very common fault) And daft as it sounds same make does not always ensure maximum drive compatability. I initially purchased an LG DVD ROM drive to compliment my LG DVD RW RAM drive, but had poor on the fly performance. It was taking 24 minutes on the fly, (thats direct reader to writer without an image being made to PC first) Where as it was actually quicker to use it to copy image to PC first, taking an overal copy time of about 8.5 to 9 minutes. I swapped it for my SONY DVD RW, using that as the source and performance increased drastically to an on the fly performance of about 5.25minutes.
Basically all good. Some quieter than others, and look at media compatability for the drive you consider buying.
ok, i bought a pioneer dvr-111dbk for US $42 and gave the sony dru-830a for my sister.
it seems the pioneer dvr-111dbk has already been flashed with dvr-111 1.06 firmware. so i flashed it again with dvr-111 1.29 firmware from http://tdb.rpc1.org/#DVR111 since it could not be flashed with the official pioneer dvr-111d series or even dvr-111 series firmware.
it runs fine so far, and in my opinion, this pioneer takes the lead when reading dvds compared to sony and copy it to hard disk. i started to begin to like sony before i knew it used samsung's chipset which i had bad experience with samsung optical storage couple years ago. the sony optical storage cannot read one dvd of mine while benq dw1650 and pioneer dvr-111dbk (flashed to dvr-111) can.
my point is, i'm happy with this pioneer, using nec's chipset the same with asus 1608p3s. will try lite-on too if i have the chance.