>but presumably if i'm doing a SELECT count(*) FROM Designs WHERE Keywords
>LIKE "%sport%"
>followed by a SELECT * FROM Designs WHERE Keywords LIKE "%sport%" LIMIT 0,20
>it's still using nearly as much processing time as just returning all the
>designs and just using a get_num_rows and then only using the first 20?

I absolutely think it will not.

After all, the table record count should be able to reference the index, 
(you are running this query against an indexed 'Keywords' column yes?), 
while assembling the table of returned data will take quite a bit more 
memory, which is what you're really trying to cut down, I think.


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