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BTW, I am a journalist looking to improve article searching
The benefit is quicker results. The disadvantage is, if you search for file names, it will search against the incomplete index file instead of fully scanning the hard disk. You can work around this by Tuning the Performance to "Used Often" (aka "Instant") [microsoft.com] for the service. Since this setting bogs down your system during the initial build, you may want to let this run as an overnight job.