16X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 4X DVD+R DL 16X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 24X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2M Cache IDE DVD Burner - OEM: paid $53 at NewEgg.
With the 3.04 firmware and after installing Nero 6.6, it is possible to test the disk for errors using CD/DVD Speed (download for free here).
CDR burned 2 years ago, looks fine, but CD speed doesn't think it's too good, at least on part of the disk:
However, all files on disk were readable, without a windows-reported CRC error. This suggests that semi-isolated peaks of C1/C2 are OK.
Old disk with some evidence of corrosion at the edge, burned on old plextor:
Not all files on disk are readable. These all seem to be at the end, where the concentrated peaks above 1k are. Another way to look at it is the speed, which drops down to 20x, where after spikes above 400 might be enough to cause errors.
Over burned disk (at 16x or 8x, can't remember)) on 3520: (Fujifilm brand)
No evidence of errors or higher error rate in overburned area.
"Great quality" brand disk, burned on old plextor:
I could not reliably read from the later area of the disk.
Playing with overburning
If you want to overburn, and you want to select which files are "overburnt" this can be achieved in Nero 6.6. The trick is setting the file priority. Priority = how quickly the file can be read, and faster reading is possible at the edge of the disk. Which is also where overburning happens. So to keep a file from being overburnt, give it a low priority, and give some other file a high priority. Of course, this assumes the low-priority file is small enough to fit in the regular burn area.
Overburned Maxel brand disk, burned at 16x on 3520:
Looks pretty good. This disk stores 710 MB without problems.
Overburned Maxel brand disk, burned at 48x on 3520:
I told the drive to quit testing at 81 minutes, since at 81:20 it started to get infinite C1 errors, suggesting that is where the overburn failed. It's interesting to note that 1) burning at 48x doesn't seem to make the disk that low quality, and 2) error rate doesn't seem to increase that much up until the very, very end.
Maxel brand disk, burned at 48x on 3520:
Looks very good. See below for same data burned slower.
Maxel brand disk, burned at 16x on 3520:
No evidence what so ever that the slower burn was any better.