> I am trying to understand the various factors used by Postgres to optimize. 
I presently have a dual-866 Dell server with 1GB of memory. I've done the 

see: http://www.varlena.com/varlena/GeneralBits/Tidbits/index.php
which has articles on .conf files.
(feel free to link these articles at PHPbuilder.com and elsewhere!)

> The databases I'm using have about 200,000+ news headlines with full-text 
indexes (which range upwards of a few million records). They are updated 
about every 5 to 10 minutes, which means I also have to run a vacuum about 
once every 2 to 3 hours at least. As I get more updates obviously the 
efficiency goes down. I'm trying to make the most of this system but don't 
fully understand PG's optimization stuff.

Unless you're running PostgreSQL 7.1 or earlier, you should be VACUUMing every 
10-15 minutes, not every 2-3 hours.   Regular VACUUM does not lock your 
database.  You will also want to increase your FSM_relations so that VACUUM 
is more effective/efficient; again, see the articles.

-Josh Berkus
 Aglio Database Solutions
 San Francisco

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