From: United Kingdom
Sounds like a recent newsgroup topic...
How long does a drive last?
How long is a piece of string?
Envonmental cleanliness is probably one of the MOST important things - NO SMOKING !
The less dust and other contaminants you allow into the drive each time it opens, the longer it will last.
Another argument - will it wear out before it becomes obsolete - that really depends on how long before DVD-?? settles the riciculous standards war and breaks whatever price point is crucial - because there cannot be much more speed in CD-R technology, other than maybe bringing RW speeds toward the same as CD-R, as the current limits are detimed by how fast you can spin the CD-R, not by how good the laser or electronics are.