Ball Bearing or Sealed?

aidso Posts: 493
edited December 2013 in MTB buying advice
I''m doing the quarterly tinker on the bikes and have noticed some play in one of the headsets that uses a Pig Race bearing set up. I can get the balls cheap enough but ideally I'd like a new pig cage. Is it worth pursuing loose bearings or are these old hat and best replaced with a sealed headset? Do they last longer?