That's a very interesting question. You may need to run some tests with each method to find out. Both import options will cause extensive updating of field indexes on your indexed fields--which along with evaluating stored calculation fields will be a significant factor in how long the import will take. But I'm not prepared to say that one method will be faster or somehow "better" than the other from what I know at this point in time....
Thanks Phil :)
I tried import, CREATE new table as an option to see difference: the 69,000+ imported in less than 5 minutes!!! :)
Once I import to the desired table (either from the tab delimited text OR from the new table) it takes 3+ hours because of the indexing and calculations just like you said Phil.
I'll re-evaluate the fields that are indexed to see if I can decrease them as many as possible.