The answer to this depends on what you want to do. If you are talking about a couple of hundred data entries then flat files will be be faster than mSQL or MySQL not because either of these servers aren't fast, but you still have to connect to and negotiate with the server to get the data.
On larger amounts of data mSQL or MySQL will be faster even with connecting and negotiating because the way they store the data is organised in such a way as to make it fast to search through (provided of course you have set up the database to store the data for efficient retrieval) - flat files have to be first read in then parsed into data structures, which causes a bottleneck.
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