I pulled the trigger on the NR809 from AfL. I was very skeptical as well, real alot of Onkyo horror stories on the "space heater" and premature failures of their products. I have to admit, for 599, it is the LOWEST price I had found. I live in FL (got hit up for TAX though), so received it the next day of my order. It was a "refurb" but it was very well packed with ALL manuals and accessories. The unit was PERFECT cosmetically. Took a few days to hook it up (actually ALL day Sunday with 4 kids and wife running around-had to swap out 2 complete setups in LR and BR). It is not completly calibrated, but I can say all functions work, and the sound so far is awesome. I can not tell if it is running too hot even though it is in somewhat of a closed in audio tower.
I went with the 809 as I DO need analog multi channel inputs for my "legacy" Sony SACD (thanks to the "analog sunset", the 818 does NOT have them)
The network and internet radio features are "game changers" for me, finally get to actually use the Zone 2 out to my patio, controlling Pandora, spotify, ETC with my iPhone.