I have the TEAC CD-W512EB. It's a perfect burner: 12x CD-R, 10x CD-RW, 32x CD-ROM, Burn-Proof, Raw-mode (100% compatible with CloneCD), overburn*, access time: 85ms, cache: 4MB, excellent error correction and very good support by TEAC. You get Nero5 and InCD with it, and you know that Nero is the best burn software. You can update it for free to v 5.5 by AHEAD software.
It costs in Germany only 333,- DM (about 150$).
Prior to my buying the 12x Velo I have now, I used a rather old Memorex CRW-1622. It's *very* slow by today's standards, but, to its credit, the times it burnt coasters were my fault (running too many things in the background, etc.) While it is only a 2x burner, I've seen them on sale for $50 to $60.