I'm curious why a call to getPath is even used in render?
$restorePath = set_include_path(implode(';',$this->getPaths()));
Replacing to $path = $this->getPath($this->getLayout());
Would replace the PHP functionality being called in getPath with the
equivalent C functionality used by include.
I understand that using include with the entire include path can be slower
then including a file directly, but if you override the path so it's only
the one your interested in, using the built in functionality instead of
calling a bunch of PHP file_exists functions should be faster. Am I wrong
and even with a limited include path it's still faster to use file_exists?