Do you ever compare the values of a lot of columns in two tables? Sure you do. Like, for instance, in a cross update, when you need to figure out which rows you should actually update. But it gets worse if the columns are nullable. The fact that any value could potentially be NULL vastly complicates the comparison and might wreak havoc not only on your code but also on your query performance.
But there’s hope.
Among the three different types of join operators used by SQL Server, the HASH JOIN does some of the hardest work. It scales pretty well and is very suitable for parallel processing. As such, it can be very powerful in many applications, but hash joins can potentially consume quite a bit of memory, so seeing on in your query plan could be an indicator of a performance tuning issue in your query or data.