First 8x DVD-R combo Drive: NEC ND-2500A and CD-R/DVD=R recommendations
"CD Freaks":http://www.cdfreaks.com/article/134/. A super comprehensive review of the new NEC ND-2500A. It is the first drive that can write DVD-Rs at 8x. (Most drives can now write 8x DVD+Rs). But, the most impressive thing is that it has very low write error rates for CDs and DVDs.
Most interesting though is that they go through various recordable media and recommend them. Its actually hard to figure out who the underlying manufacturers are, but there apparently is a media code somewhere that tells all. The net is that media made by Taiyo Yuden (they are sold as Sony CD-Rs, but Sony has resells other brands), the code is 97m24s01f for these. More later on how to actually figure this code out.
For DVD-Rs, Taiyo Yuden is resold as Verbatim Data Life Plus DVD-R certified at 4x, but writable by the NEC at 8x. Their code is TYG01. Verbatim Data Life Plus is also made by Mitsubishi Chemicals with code MCC01RG20. Fortunately, both of these are very good, so getting Verbatim Data Life Plus seems like a good bet.
For DVD+Rs, Taiyo Yuden is sold as Plextor with code YUDEN000T01 and again have great quality.