I work with Fiberon ó a composite decking manufacturer ó and wanted to weigh in as well.
In my opinion, you can get composite decking that looks as good as IPE and performs even better.
Composite decking manufacturing has significantly evolved over the last few years. Thanks to new technology, you can now get deckboards wrapped on all four sides, so itís protected from stains, scratches and fading. Boards with non-organic surfaces eliminate sources for mold. This will help prevent the black spots youíve been reading about.
If youíre still having trouble making your decision, let me know if youíre interested in talking to a deck builder in the Atlanta area. Iím sure they will give you sound advice!