There was a number of improvements to tuplesort.c external sort merging made for Postgres 10. One in particular, the changes to merge heap maintenance that occurred for commit 24598337c8d, really helped with presorted cases -- cases when there was an (inverse) physical/logical correlation.
Replacement selection sort for run generation was not killed as part of the improvements to external sorting in Postgres 9.6, although there was a reasonably good case for that to be made at the time those enhancements went in. This was because it was still possible for its best case to come out ahead. The best case is the case where it manages to produce a single run, all in one go, by exploiting presortedness. The examples where this was possible were fairly narrow, but they existed. With the additional enhancements made to Postgres 10, I doubt that there are any remaining cases where it wins. In addition to the point about heap management and presortedness, you also have to consider that TSS_SORTEDONTAPE processing is optimized for random access. This means that one-big-replacement-selection-run cases will not take advantage of available memory, improvements in Postgres 10 by Heikki to tape preloading for merging, OS readahead, and so on. Merging is often quite I/O bound these days, especially when merging naturally requires few comparisons. TSS_SORTEDONTAPE processing is inappropriate. I think we should remove the replacement_sort_tuples GUC, and kill replacement selection entirely. There is no need to do this for Postgres 10. I don't feel very strongly about it. It just doesn't make sense to continue to support replacement selection. -- Peter Geoghegan -- Sent via pgsql-hackers mailing list (email@example.com) To make changes to your subscription: http://www.postgresql.org/mailpref/pgsql-hackers