To use original IK or new empties for rigging?

I have a rig set up pretty well using the former bone ik method. I have heard about the new rigging system, which uses empties, and if I undertand correctly, different calculations(? not sure about that). So is there a difference, an easy way to convert one to the other, or any noticable changes to make things easier? Hopefully someone has tested this enough to at least partially answer my questions.