Hi all, 

I'm running postgres 7.3.4 on a quad Xeon 2.8 GHz with 
Mem:  1057824768 309108736 748716032        0 12242944 256413696
Swap: 518053888  8630272 509423616

on Linux version 2.4.26-custom 

Data directory is mounted with noatime.

Nothing else but one 11GB database is running on this machine.
When the database was created, I changed the following defaults :
shared_buffers = 24415
sort_mem = 5120
vacuum_mem = 10240
commit_delay = 5000
commit_siblings = 100

These settings worked fine, but were not optimal, I thought, and processing
stuff on this database was a bit slow. The machine is not nearly used to it's
capacity, and I realized that disk IO is what's slowing me down. So I
decided to give postgres more shared memory  and much more sort memory,
as it does a lot of "group by'"s and "order by"'s during the nightly processing.
These were the new settings I tried :
shared_buffers = 61035
sort_mem = 97657

I thought because it's only one process that runs queries exclusively at night,
I should be able to set the sort_mem this high without worrying about running
out of memory. 

It seems I was mistaking, as I started getting these kind of errors in dmesg :
VM: killing process postmaster
__alloc_pages: 0-order allocation failed (gfp=0x1d2/0)
__alloc_pages: 0-order allocation failed (gfp=0x1d2/0)
VM: killing process postmaster

and I kept on getting these postgres errors :
ERROR:  Index ???? is not a btree

I systematically reduced the shared buffers back down to 24415, and this kept
on happening. As soon as I reduced sort_mem back to under 10000,the problem
stopped. But the database is just as slow as before. (By slow I mean not as fast as it 
be on such a powerful machine compared to much worse machines running the same 

What can I do to make this database run faster on this machine.
Can anyone suggest how I would go about speeding up this database. 

I need to prepare a database three times the size of this one, running the same 
and I don't know what improvements I can do on hardware to make this possible.

On the current machine I can easily get another 1GB  or 2GB of memory, but will that 
help at all?
Without going into the details of exactly the queries that run on this machine, what 
would be needed to
make postgres run very fast on this machine?

Please help.

Kind Regards

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