Softer pads will provide better braking, but produce more dust. Harder pads such as semi-metallic are harder, produce less dust, but braking is a bit less, and can squeel. There are "in betweens" that you can use, and ceramic is one type of pad that has been successful by most.
Going to slotted and/or drilled rotors will help by keeping the pads and rotors cool by allowing heat and gas buildup to vent off, but I doubt it would help the dust problem much.
Try the ceramic pads first before spending a lot of bucks on slotted/drilled rotors. You can always add them later of you have the money to burn.
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