How would you configure a dedicated static media HTTP server?

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http://serverfault.com – Now that more websites are switching to a set-up with nginx in the front and Apache in the back (or a different webserver doing a better job at serving static media than Apache), I was wondering the following: Would it make sense to put static media on a dedicated server (running nginx), instead of running nginx in front of Apache? I'm not talking about budget, maintenance, etc. (I know that running 2 servers is more expensive than running 1). What I mean is: How would you fully optimize a system dedicated to serving static files? What things can be done on the hardware and software level (HowTos)