I want to install FreeBSD today on a spare HDD I have lying around. I'd like to give it a trial run, learn a few things, and if it suits me I'll replace my current Ubuntu 10.10 'server/NAS/encoding box' with it. Curiosity is the main reason. I also want to see most of the major bugs ironed out of GNOME 3/Unity before I jump aboard the next Ubuntu iteration.
I have no experience with the BSDs (except for OS X) but I have installed and used quite a few Linux distros over the years. I have a fairly good understanding of how to get Linux up and running, including some of the roll-your-own distros such as Arch. But I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. Basically, I'd say I'm better than my grandma is.
So is there anything that I should keep in mind when installing FreeBSD for the first time? In particular, are there any major differences between installing and setting up FreeBSD and a Linux distro? Furthermore, should I be using a i386 release? I read somewhere in the documentation that i386 is recommended but I'm not sure if that's out-of-date information.