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In the set database we record the actual number of parts in the set as reported by shop.LEGO.com or, in the case of older sets, BrickLink, whereas the number on the tab, and the number used when calculating your parts collection total at the top of the page, is the number of elements in LEGO's published inventory.
Another issue is that Lego's online listings for some reason put a cap of 200 on the quantity of a part in a set. So even if a set has 500 of an element, it will only show 200 as the quantity. This is especially an issue for larger Technic sets, which tend to use hundreds of pins, but it can be an issue for other large sets too - for example, Tower Bridge and Big Ben.
Yes, the 200 limit is annoying and frustrating...