Quick Version: Is it more efficient, in terms of database performance, to have multiple separate temporary feature classes or one feature class that you repeatedly empty out and fill?
I am working with ArcGIS 10.1, Windows 7, using personal geodatabases.
I have a python toolbox tool that selects survey cells based on their proximity to a seed-cell. Once a boundary is determined, based on distance from the last selected set of cells, the final selected set is buffered to form the boundary. I have been using a single feature class (BoundaryHopper)to hold the output of the buffer and then appending that output to a second feature class that holds all the boundaries for a project (DerivedBoundaries). BoundaryHopper would be emptied out at the beginning of each loop iteration to avoid repeatedly appending the same boundaries to DerivedBoundaries ]
Recently I switched the tool over to using separate outputs for each buffer output (TempBoundary1,2,3...) and appending each individual feature class to DerivedBoundaries. That solved some issues I was having from trying to overwrite the same feature class all the time.
So, my question is: Are there any significant performance benefits of one technique over the other? Does one technique create less 'bloat' in the database or result in faster processing?