I have All-Clad copper core and All-Clad SS. I find the copper core heats faster than the straight AC SS. Both the copper core and stainless steel seem to cook the food just as fast as other brands but it seems I don't have to crank up the heat to do the same job. I watch for sales and bought them all at Cookware and More. Having said that I also have some great old Griswold cast iron fry pans, Lodge reversible griddle and La Crueset enameled cast iron (local La Crueset store sells seconds). A big Brazilian soapstone dutch oven some european copper pots and the assorted ceramic, pryrex and clay casserole or lasagne pans to round out the variety. What I didn't have was a really heavy 12" cast iron fry pan. What I just orderd is a 5.5 qt nickel coated cast iron pot that is like a 12" fry pan but with 4" sides and a nickle clad lid. I'll have to report on how I like it.
The Griswold fry pans are in their third generation of use maybe more! Even though they are seconds I expect the same of the All-Clad. They will do that even as they are used daily so IMO that is factor in value vrs. cost that only time can testify to with some of the other brands.
I am not a professional chef so it is all about the fun of cooking, the pleasure of entertaining and the meals shared with family. May all have that satisfaction no matter what pot or pan they have. Truely they (pots & pans) are but a means to an end not the end to be reached.