pros / cons of running a 4 cpu (16 core) system on FreeBSD.  I found

FreeBSD 7 is quite scallable, said to work well for up to 8-16 cores.

but it depends of what you do. if your I/O (both disk and network) to computind ratio is low it would scale well on even more cores.

Tyan S4985
4 x AMD 8346HE 1.8Ghz (quad-core)

Also I want to run my main HDD as SSD (Sata II), I found some good
info about:
 OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX120G 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal
Solid state disk (SSD)

with 16GB RAM i don't think it's worth of price. won't most of your often-used small files will be cached on your huge memory?

i would rather buy 2 ordinary SATA disks and make gmirror, performance will be OK too, more space and extra protection.

--Will FreeBSD give me optimal performance with such an HDD?

as every other HDD. yes.

I'd prefer to run FreeBSD, since I'm most familiar with it, but am not
against Linux since my ultimate goal is to get the best performance
out of the hardware that I can...
for sure you will not get best performance under linux on any hardware, except when your workload will be like those used on "scallability" tests, like running 1000 threads of mysql, with everything in memory (cache) and mostly no external I/O in the same time. but AFAIK FreeBSD 7 is better/same even in that case.

In case of classic unix style workload which is

- lots of processes doing lots of things in the same time
- the processes are often many DIFFERENT programs
- lots of I/O on one/many disks
- lots of connectivity

FreeBSD beats everything that exist on the planet.
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