So, after talking to Kaitain, I've decided to take the plunge. I've downloaded a stage 3 tarball and I'm installing Gentoo. Recompiling the world right now. 6 hours in and I'm about 3/4 done, I think (about 50 packages left, started with 231). I've mounted an 8G ramdisk at /var/tmp/portage. That makes a HUGE difference in compile times. Using -j9 since this is a quad-core hyper-threaded CPU. Just using -O2 for the compiler, and using -march=native. Using the 17.0 desktop/gnome profile (I'm planning on installing Cinnamon for the DE).