The best and cheapest don't communicate most of the time ;-) But nowadays it doesn't matter anymore - the prices are at such a low level, so you can choose the one you like ... LG e.g. sucks less in my opionion, but the quality of the company can change rapidly.
Most DVD burners are manufactured in China. Sometimes DVD burners
produced in the same factory are branded differently. At this point I would go for the cheapest which in U.S. means around $20 on line stores for DVD burner unless I have the reason to believe that is crappy quality. The most recently I have bought Light On
IDE interface DVD burner from NewEgg for $20 and so far works like a charm. All in all I probably have at least 5 DVD burners including 2 on my laptops and never had a problem with any of them.
Choice of manufacturer shouldn't affect configuration, but interface will (ATA/SATA). Either should be fine, but there are differences you should read about (atapicam, devfs.conf, /dev/pass* etc).
I have a BenQ 1640 (ata) and it works fine with growisofs [*], but am looking at LG sata drives for my new machine. Current line-up of LG burners are pretty good value and have a good reputation on the linux/bsd side. After reading your motherboard thread it sounds like you'd go the sata route unless you happen to have an old ata drive lying around...
[*] I've used growisofs to successfully burn DVD-R, DVD+RW and DVD+RL discs in the last two days, no issues, no coasters. I only recently setup my BenQ, so the config is pretty fresh in my head. Let me know if you want to know what I had to do to get things working as a regular user. ]
It's worth noting that DVDs are probably not the best way of doing backups in terms of durability, cost or convenience.
You're going to need to burn multiple copies of each disc, check it regularly and go for the best quality discs you can get.
Personally, I back up to an external HDD, when I get the chance I'll be getting an extra to mirror that one. Checking the backups is a lot more efficient, and it's not going to take that long to recoup the price over the DVD Burner.
Also worth noting is with burners you often want to update the firmware, let alone to be able to write new(er) blanks (well), and some manufacturers (like LG last I looked) only let you do that in Windows... (instead of DOS which you can also put on a floppy/cd/usbkey if the box doesn't dual-boot.)
I stromgly recomend that you get an external hsardrive an use that for backing up your machine, or you could even go with a entry level NAS applience. Pc connection has a link station NAS for around 250USD.