When comparing strings, if a machine is big-endian, even if strings are\nnot aligned, you can do some shifts then do word comparisons rather\nthan byte-by-byte comparisons. Little-endian machines, though, haven't\nmuch choice but to read strings byte by byte during comparisons. The\nexpense of those shifts is a little less than the cost of reading\nthings byte-by-byte on 32-bit machines. But on 64-bit machines, the\nshift-and-compare-words approach is much faster than the byte-by-byte\napproach.\n\nSo being big-endian has an advantage, and it's a bigger advantage for\n64-bit machines than it is for 32-bit machines. How much does this\nmatter? I know databases spend a lot of time doing comparisons.