As is often said at another place "You must be new around here..."
I'm not trying to be snide, but the performance "limitations" of the Pi are well known and have been well publicised by the Foundation; Anything graphical that uses the GPU will perform as briskly as you'd want it to. Anything that relies on the ARM CPU to manipulate graphics will be slow. As slow as, say, a 300 Mhz PII based PC running modern software. The problem I have with the engadget review is that they're ripping apart a DEVELOPMENT system, with an initial cut operating system that does not, as yet, have accelerated video drivers, mainly treating it as a finished product through most of the review and bemoaning the "fact" that its useless as an educational device because the user is dumped at a command prompt and has to type a command to start a graphical environment.*
In the end, the engadget review serves a purpose, it does remind folk that the Pi isn't a super-fast general purpose computer and that is good, as it reduces the hyped-up expectations that have been fanned by the more illogical end of the XBMC community and some other commentators.
I've got a Raspberry Pi which has now been living on my desktop for the past three weeks or so. It runs the Debian distro. I didn't have any problems with getting it started. I've installed a lightweight webserver and moved apps that I'm currently running on a Sheevaplug. Its coping well. I've run startx
Works fine, I read about the Midori problem. Yes its a dog, so install Chrome. Thats better. Fiddled with the screen res as on a 16" TV the default leads to eyestrain. Ditto with the overscan settings. And so on. Its a learning experience (or revision? I had similar problems running SuSE on a 16Mhz 386SX with 4MB RAM in the mid 90s).
pjc123. Get your Pi and adjust your expectations. You can still use your monster PC. Just use ssh to connect to the Pi across the network. Best of both worlds and you can run the Pi headless, eliminating the need to connect keyboard/mouse/monitor to it! If you're worried about cost, don't get a case. It'll run just fine without one. A 4 or 8GB Class 4 SD card won't break the bank. What else? The cheapest HDMI cables WILL work, same with ethernet. Inexpensive PSUs WILL work. A USB keyboard and mouse set will be just fine too. If you don't have stuff spare it can be sourced for about the price of the Pi. The more odds and ends you have, the cheaper the initial cost will be. Be brave! Jump in, the waters lovely!!!
On the other hand, if you want a faster multicore processor and more RAM you better look at what might come out of China to fulfill your percieved needs. It'll be a while before that comes to the Pi universe and you'll have a long wait.
Anyone remember what you had to type in MSDOS to get the graphical **
If you'd paid extra and installed it...
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....