Multi-column popular threads?
You can open up the plugin file and replace certain instances of $fishhattatgal with $fishhattatgal_2 ($fishhattatgal_3, $fishhattatgal_4 .... $fishhattatgal_10) and save the new file as your new fishhattatgal with the number on the end. Eg : fishhattatgal_2. Then you can edit the templates etc etc. Of course, each instance of the plugin is a new db query.
See attached example
Board Settings > Server and Optimization Options > Advanced Stats / Debug information
Shows Server load, parse time, generation time, Gzip compression, etc on the bottom of all pages in the root folder. Please note that only administrators see this information.
If you have changed the footer significantly on your theme then you may need to use the default theme to see the stats. If you have deleted/changed the default theme then whoops - you should keep that theme available for debugging plugins.
Its not just queries, its also the size of the database. If you have ten posts it will be significantly faster than 10000 posts. Some queries are just expensive. I have a cache on a lot of my queries; so I hit the DB once and then later pageloads pull from the cache instead of querying the db; that can be a hit on memory though. Basically you have to choose the one that works for you.