As a new performer user (Craigslist find) I say get the performer. I have had a weber gold for a while and love it too. Either one is great in my book. I have never had a weber silver, I like the enclosed ash tray, I cook on a wood deck, it just seems like the silver would get ashes everywhere.
I use the propane ignition, let it run for 5 minutes and shut it off. Works great. You do have to mess around with the coals once or twice, but I do that even when I use the chimney starter.
The thermometer in the lid is great too. After a long time of not having it, I really like having it now.
[SIZE=3][SIZE=2]Wood fired pizza oven,Copper Weber Gold, Green Weber Performer, Black Weber Silver, Green logo'd 18 inch Weber Gold, and a UDS of course.