Sorry, but rare is simply not worth it before lvl80.
I just checked the TP. As an example, I looked at ~lvl35 prices for heavy armor.
Going for Power/Prec/Crit (if available), total stats for lvl35 RARE
armor and prices (took the least expensive available piece) at TP:
Boots: 59/10/7 - 17.3s
Chest: 117/29/21 - 18.7s
Gloves: 59/10/7 - 17s
Helm: 39/13/9 - 17s
Legs: 78/19/14 - 18.6s
Shoulders: 39/10/7 - 17s
Total cost of 1g 5s 60c
Now let's look at total stats for lvl38 MASTERWORK
armor and prices at TP:
(Defense/Power/Prec) [first set bonus]
Boots: 59/10/7 - 1s
Chest: 117/29/21 - 1.3s [+10 Healing]
Gloves: 59/10/7 - 0.9s [+10 Power]
Helm: 39/13/9 - 1s [+5% Magic Find]
Legs: 78/19/14 - 1.2s [+10 Toughness]
Shoulders: 39/10/7 - 1s [+10 Vitality]
Magif Find: 5
Total cost of 6.4s
So super secret advice from me: wait 3 levels, get better armor for 16 times less money
If you have the materials, that's great, but you could still sell them. It's just not worth it in my opinion to get better gear for 3 lousy lvls for such a huge price difference.
And hey: if you want to spend more money, you could replace your complete masterwork armor every 4 lvls or so and still get away with more money in the end...
Edited by Shoros, 09 November 2012 - 11:41 PM.