READ TABLE itbl ASSIGNING is always faster than READ TABLE itbl INTO wa. Besides, when making changes to internal tables, not only it doesn’t require the explicit MODIFY but it also does away with the auxiliary TABIX variable. The only situation in which a working area is better is when adding new lines to an internal table. Some people contend that working areas should still be used when no changes are to be made to the data. This is still slower, but visually can be more intuitive.