It all depends on the particular piece of recordable media as to what you're going to get to play well in what drive. Overall, the general concensus seems to be that the Samsungs have the best compatibility and reliability. The Thomsons, while maybe not necessarily having the worst compatibility, certainly are the least reliable of the bunch.
Having said all that, probably the most compatible and reliable (if done properly) solution (that still plays retail games) is the Samsung 616 mod, which seems to play darn near everything you throw at it. I only modded one to replace my dead Thomson cheaply, but many use it because it not only can play retail games without chip mods but is also very liberal in the kinds of recordable discs it can play well.