Raw SQL with properly bound columns and prepared statements or DB procedures will always win the speed race, often hugely, but I want to point out that DBIC got MUCH faster recently. Fast enough to beat Rose::DB, the previous ORM speed king, on certain operations; and you have tools like DBIx::Class::ResultSet::HashRef to skip the most expensive part of DBIC (objectification of records). DBIC also has some cache control built-in so depending on the use case it could conceivably be faster than raw SQL unless you go to the trouble of handling caching yourself. And that underscores the final case for DBIC: it does nearly everything and it does it before you realize you were going to need it.
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