To somewhat alleviate your bias against the Lite-On Drives, I personally have owned 3 Sony optical drives (2x dvd burners 1x blu ray), 2 Samsung drives (2x dvd burners) and now around 7 of the newer Lite ons (all dvd rw burners for my PC's in the workplace and home). Out of these drives a total of 2 Sony Drives, 2 Samsung Drives, and no Lite On Drives have died. These drives were all running concurrent to each other over the past 6 years or so (with the exception of my most recent one for my home pc).
So somehow, I believe when I say "Hey OP, get a Lite-On Drive" that my information is somewhat reliable and or valid over my experiences with the other brands. The only Sony I have seen hold up so far over my travels (need to move from school to home at times a 8 hour bouncy car ride) is my Sony Optaric Blu-Ray Drive, the other 2 had lens trouble after a single trip (two Sony drives). The Samsungs which died, lost the motor power on the tray and would not open. My Lite-On Drive being the newest one (not one of the ones from 6 or so years ago) has been able to withstand my bouncy car rides, massive amounts of use (burning and regular dvd or cd disc usage) and has held up for around 2 years thus far without even a hint of dying or having problems (no noises, quick load times, etc).
Just telling the OP that he has something to worry about when you haven't personally tried the newer models is somewhat silly. But at the end of the day it is his decision