Maya's hair and fur functions are hugely complex and processor intensive for rendering so I've been looking at other ways to create hair. While modelling a rigid model of the hair shape I hit on the idea of using cloth with a hair texture and allowing it to settle around the head, which would also look better in motion, rather than being a solid mass stuck to the characters head.
My original test, just to see if it could work
Moving vertexes to create hair spikes and applying a simple white test texture
I'm going to create a couple of materials in photoshop to test this idea further, but this seems to sit nicely between mega detail and resource friendly.