They're both stainless with multi-core disc bottoms. Personally, I don't do disc bottoms but some people seem to think it's an acceptable compromise. The fully clad tri-ply design is all that I will consider, except for a few more specialized pieces such as carbon steel, cast iron or enameled cast iron for a dutch oven. You don't need clad for boiling water, cooking pasta, etc., but it's not practical to have large single use pots setting around.
The problem with these sets, and sets generally, is the size of the pieces is small--if they happened to include exactly the right pieces for a particular person it would be a miracle. A few things I consider to be imperative are... 12 qt stock pot, 12" fry pan, 6 qt saute, 4 qt sauce pan. I have absolutely no use for a 8" fry pan or a 3 qt saute. If I had more space on the stovetop I'd want an even larger saute, but the 6 qt (12") is the most practical overall. If you only cook for one the smallish sizes may suffice. I am single and often cook for just myself, but always cook the full recipe or a double so that I'll be able to eat from the fridge for the next couple of days.
For a budget set here's what I consider to be the absolute best buy anywhere, and believe me, I've looked at most everything. The story on this is that the tramontina tri-ply was reviewed favorably on cooksillustrated and said to be comparable in performance to all clad at a fraction of the price. But their sets were criticized for the small pieces and the reviewer went on to specify what he wished he could get in a set. Tramontina responded by producing a set that matched that reviewer's notion of the ideal set. Then wallyworld picked it up and pushed the pricing to an almost unbelievable low for what you're actually getting. I've had the 12" frying pan. It's quality stuff regardless of price.
Edited by salparadise - 5/12/12 at 5:12am