The internal pipe approach is about 1.5X faster than the pure Perl approach (though still a far cry from cut):
% time perl -le 'open IN, q( cut -d, -f"1-15" numbers.csv| ); \
print join ",", ( chomp and @F = split /,/ ) while <IN>' > /dev/null
19.49s user 0.00s system 96% cpu 20.289 total
Update: But keep in mind that the numbers above are for a relatively fast cut command. The improvement with sk's cut will be more modest; it'd be interesting to see the actual numbers.
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