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Re: Various performance questions

From: Greg Stark <gsstark(at)mit(dot)edu>
To: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne(at)acm(dot)org>
Cc: pgsql-performance(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Various performance questions
Date: 2003-10-27 15:09:09
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-performance
Christopher Browne <cbbrowne(at)acm(dot)org> writes:

> In the last exciting episode, dror(at)zapatec(dot)com (Dror Matalon) wrote:
> > I was answering an earlier response that suggested that maybe the actual
> > counting took time so it would take quite a bit longer when there are
> > more rows to count.

That was my theory. I guess it's wrong. There is other work involved in
processing a record, but i'm surprised it's as long as the work to actually
pull the record from kernel and check if it's visible.

> Well, if a "where clause" allows the system to use an index to search
> for the subset of elements, that would reduce the number of pages that
> have to be examined, thereby diminishing the amount of work.

it's not. therein lies the mystery.

> Why don't you report what EXPLAIN ANALYZE returns as output for the
> query with WHERE clause?  That would allow us to get more of an idea
> of what is going on...

He did, right at the start of the thread.

For a 1 million record table without he's seeing

 select 1 from tab
 select count(*) from tab

being comparable with only a slight delay for the count(*) whereas

 select 1 from tab where c < 1000
 select count(*) from tab where c < 1000

are much faster even though they still use a sequential scan.

I'm puzzled why the where clause speeds things up as much as it does.


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