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MySQL 5.5 Reference Manual
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8.2.4.3 Optimizing DELETE Statements

The time required to delete individual rows in a MyISAM table is exactly proportional to the number of indexes. To delete rows more quickly, you can increase the size of the key cache by increasing the key_buffer_size system variable. See Section 5.1.1, “Configuring the Server”.

To delete all rows from a MyISAM table, TRUNCATE TABLE tbl_name is faster than DELETE FROM tbl_name. Truncate operations are not transaction-safe; an error occurs when attempting one in the course of an active transaction or active table lock. See Section 13.1.33, “TRUNCATE TABLE Syntax”.