> the machine will be dealing with lots of inserts, basically as many as we can
> throw at it

If you mean lots of _transactions_ with few inserts per transaction you should get a 
RAID controller w/ battery backed write-back
cache.  Nothing else will improve your write performance by nearly as much.  You could 
sell the RAM and one of the CPU's to pay for
it ;-)

If you have lots of inserts but all in a few transactions then it's not quite so 


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