To work around the problem, I've temporarily yanked an old Promise IDE card I had in an ancient K6-2 rig (timothy found parts of it in a dumpster even) and am using the old drive, but it's approaching a decade and was pretty heavily used. What with having lots of moving parts and a laser or three, I don't see it lasting another decade, and I'd like to have a drive usable with a bus that hasn't been deprecated for almost as long. I'd also like to avoid anything that can read/write Bluray, because the hardware implemented DRM is pretty heinous.
For those interested in the gory details of the hardware I ran cdparanoia -A on both drives: ide drive, sata drive. As you can see, the old drive is way faster, and it looks like the primary difference is that it also has a cache that works with non-linear access, but that behaves "correctly." If you own a drive you want to recommend and can analyze it with cdparanoia, I'm interested in seeing the output.
A note on software suggestions: it has to be FSF-definition Free Software, and GNU/Linux is the only operating system in my house. That basically leaves... cdparanoia. I'm a bit uptight when it comes to tagging (mostly because: once I've done this, will I ever have the stamina to re-tag? Nope), but I'm not trying to start a pirate CD factory and don't really care about getting 100% frame-accuarate rips, just error-free ones.