Did you use the dreamhost specific installation outlined in the wiki?
It worked great for me and I think it dealt with all the things you are concerned about.
Recommendation: IMAP. Unless you really want your machine to store all those emails and crash and eat them, IMAP them. Cool stuff especially if you use multiple machines. Email's available everywhere and management on one is management on all.
Wholly - Use promo code WhollyMindless for full 97$ credit. Let me know if you want something else!