> would the number of fields in a table significantly affect the
> search-query time?


In addition to the issues mentioned previously, there is the issue of 
criteria; an OR query on 8 fields is going to take longer to filter than an 
OR query on 2 fields.

Anyway, I think maybe you should tell us more about your database design.   
Often the fastest solution involves a more sophisticated approach toward 
querying your tables.

Josh Berkus
Aglio Database Solutions
San Francisco

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