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Er.. I didn't saw any significant drop in performance (my baby: Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, 2 GB Ram, Geforce 9600GT a.k.a cutting edge in 2007). I did detect a teeny-tiny frame drop here and there but I wouldn't have even picked up on those if you wouldn't have pointed out it in your dev notes. Not that you should have kept this from us, I'm just trying to say that it's hardly noticeable.
As for good Blender tutorials, well... Blender is constantly changing so it's hard to find any substantial and complete tutorials on the game asset making side of things. I used 3ds Max 9 before Blender and things aren't THAT much better on the commercial software side. Unless you're willing to pay for tutorials, of course.
The best I can recommend is the Blender Cookie Video tutorial series. Very professional stuff and if you aren't picky about 480p then you can watch it for free. (side note: Isn't free beer the best kind of ale?) Oh and you can categorize videos by difficulty (beginner, advanced, bard... etc.) and they have a nifty mini series for quick tips on some of the quirks of Blender. It may not answer all of your questions about the black magic of bone animation but you should at least take a brief look of their alien character rigging video and maybe the creation of said alien if you want to pick up some hot tips on low-polygon modeling.
This was lengthy and possibly full of grammatic errors but
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