Zebra, what would be the advantages of the A08XLA versus NEC 3500A ? (the disadvantage being obviously the price, but I am willing to pay more for a silent drive (silentium maniaq here :P )).
The A08XLA has several advantages in my opinion:
i. It is a very attractive drive (aesthetically). It is a very good looking bit of hardware
ii. I perfer Pioneer's write strategy implementations on -R media and the hardware's overspeeding ability to a wider range of media
iii. It has the capability of using the custom "Quiet Drive" facility, implemented in firmware
iv. I find the build quality of Pioneer drives to be slightly higher
v. My friend >NIL has recently produced an RPC1/Riplock/nXall hack for the drive
Now. The one major disadvantage I see, if you are this way inclined (which I am NOT), is that there is currently no bitsetting firmware for the A08XLA. The DVR-108 does have a bitsetting capable kernel however.
The NEC drive can bitset, given a different firmware and tool.
Personally, I am content to use no bitsetting and have a drive with slightly superior technology and firmware design.