number of rows is not very relevant. it does not say anything about the job the software have to do.
if you get your data from excel I guess that you are generating points from coordinates. it will be much more costly to create points from a text representation and render them than getting the points from some binary stored representation like a shape file for instance.
if it is not just simple points that you are rendering the amount of vertexes in the geometry will be an important factor. one single row with a polygon describing a whole country or a continent in a detailed way may include millions of vertex points (a very bad way of doing it but anyway) and will be very tough to render.
a third general aspect is if you have a spatial index on the data. that will help so not the geomtrys outside your view have to be read into memory.
a fourth aspect is how complex symbology you are using. something fancy will be much slower than a simple one colored dot.
In your situation I would first focus in moviong to a decent formt.
the king of maprendering from my experience is the old Arcview 3.x, but modern arc products is of course competent too in showing data. But if you want to save some money and go the free and open way you should take a look at QGIS and uDig.