Recent plextor drives have a DOA history? Not that I know of. I now have a total of 9 of them, and they all work flawless, from the time I have opened the boxes.
You should consider yourself lucky.
I had a Plextor once, a 708A. The thing burned, @8x, but then I stumbled into a proble: Many discs stuttered upon playback, and had what were called "hard errors" on them, meaning they couldn't be copied again. They were not good copies.
I sold this drive and got me a Nec 2510A. Best [burning] drive I ever owned. No errors whatsoever,, even if I burn various times one after the other.
The PX 708a also refused to read any CD_R's, after I tried to format a CD-RW with it. Oh, and also gave me quite a lot of trouble burning in linux (wouldn't be recognized as a DVD-Burner, didn't go past 2x, etc.)
Now I'm looking for the best "ripping" drive I can get, mainly in Rip Quality, not necessarily Rip Speed. It should be able to read all discs, not give me CRC' erros (such as y NEC gives me when reading some lightly dammaged discs) Is this new BenQ the drive I'm looking for?