I received a catalog from JC Penny featuring their house brand "Cooks" cookware and it's very interesting. They offer two All-Clad clones: #1 = a 3 ply satinless/aluminum/stainless sandwich at $99 for an 8 piece set. #2 = a 5 ply stainless/aluminum/copper/aluminum/stainless sandwich - $299 for an 8 piece set.
These are not just sandwiched on the bottom - it's completely encased like All-Clad.
These sets offer some pieces I could really use - 3 qt. saucier, 3 qt. high-sided chicken fryer, 2 qt. sauce pan and two fry pans - with covers to fit everything.
I'm going to buy one of these - here's the main question: do you think the improvement in cooking with copper in the center of the more expensive model
is significant? Is copper really a better heat conductor than aluminum? Right now that fabulous $99 dollar price for the stainless/aluminum/stainless set is the one I think I'll get unless anyone has some serious arguments advocating for the copper center- layer model.