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> I recently moved from lua4 to lua5 and I've noticed huge loss in
> performance in table construction.

I repeated this test on my Win98 Celeron 400 machine with three tables like
yours, containing 2000, 1500 and 1700 records each.  Executing this file
with a "dofile" from the Lua console takes well below a second (and I double
checked that the tables were processed correctly.)

I don't know what can cause such a huge difference though...  (possibly line
hooks?  Does the console use them under some conditions?)