I've got two servers, both dual CPU 2.4GHz, hyperthreaded (look like 4), similar disk configs, etc. One has 2GB memory, one has 4GB memory.
If I issue a "select * from section" on the first server, it takes about 10 seconds. It gets as low as 6 with repeated executions, but can vary and get up to 11-14 seconds.
If I usse this on the second server, it is consitently under 2 seconds.
Both tables have 6300 rows (6363 and 6351) and the structures, indexes, etc. are the same. I run SET STATISTICS IO ON and SET STATISTICS PROFILE ON and see no physical reads on either server. I can watch the CPU and it doesn't break 5% on either server during my testing.
I checked the fragmentation and the slower server is less fragmented. 91% density v 84% on the faster server.
The databases in both cases are supposed to be the same, some minor data differences, but very, very similar. Row size is the same, IO cost, CPU cost within a percentage point or so of each other.