Ali Nafees Dhillon Ali Nafees Dhillon - 1 year ago 49
SQL Question

I am using select top 5 from(select * from tbl2) tbl, will it get all records from tbl2 or will it get only specific records i.e 5

I am using select top 5 from(select * from tbl2) tbl, will it get all records from tbl2 and then it will it get only specific records i.e 5? or do it only get 5 records from internal memory. suppose we have 1000 records in tbl2.

Answer Source

For future reference, SQL actually has a huge amount of amazing documentation/resources online. For instance: This google search.

As to your question, it will pull the top five results matching your criteria, so it depends. It'll go through, and find the first five results matching your criteria. If those are the last results it goes through, it'll still have to do the comparisons and filtering on all rows, the only difference will be that it will have to send less rows to your computer.

For example, let's say we have a table my_table with two columns: Customer_ID (which is unique) and First_Purchase_Date (which is a date value between 2015-01-01 and 2017-07-26). If we simply do SELECT TOP 5 * FROM my_table then it will go through and pull the first five rows it finds, without looking at the rest of the rows. On the other hand, if we do SELECT TOP 5 * FROM my_table WHERE First_Purchase_Date = '2017-05-17' then it will have to go through all the rows until it can find five rows with a First_Purchase_Date of 2017-05-17. If First_Purchase_Date is indexed, this should not be very expensive, as it'll more or less know where to look. If it's not, then it depends on your how SQL has decided to structure your table, and if it has created any useful statistics. Worst case, it could not have any statistics and the desired rows could be the last five in the database, in which case it will have to complete the comparison on all the rows in the database.

By the way, this is a somewhat poor idea, as the columns returned will not necessarily stay consistent over time. It may be a good idea to throw in an ORDER BY clause, to ensure you get the same records every time.

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