Of course you’re not going to be able to get enterprise level components like ECC RAM and Xeon CPUs
You can achieve some of the future upgradability, like with the GPU and storage via Thunderbolt
Yes, it’s not the same as having these things internal, but at least it’s an option
Start with the upper base model Mac mini which starts at $1,099.00
Upgrade the CPU to the 6 core 12 thread i7 at 3.2GHz, with Turbo Boost to 4.5GHz
Get close to the 8core 16 thread 3.5GHz of the base Mac Pro
Then upgrade the 16GB RAM to 32GB, again matching the bas model Mac Pro
Not ECC, but in this case mini may be a tad quicker due to not having error correction
Both run the RAM at 2666 MHz
Storage is equal at the sucky 256GB SSD.
Upgrade to one, not two, 10gigbit Ethernet port
For the GPU you’ll need to go eGPU on the mini
An enclosure will run you just under $300 bucks.
You can get an off the shelf AMD RX 580 which is close to the Apple 580x in the Mac Pro
Because you have a standard port, you can later upgrade with off the shelf GPUs. Won’t need Apple’s fancy MPX Modules
Can drive two-4K displays plus an HDMI display.
So what’s the price for the “mini Pro”? Just USD $3,480.00 or about $2500 less for a similarly spec’d and upgradeable Mac Platform
Right in that Pro-Sumer $3000-$5000 sweet spot.
Why you no back up?
I heard from Phil this week and he has a massive iTunes video collection.
4TB amassed over time spread across 2 x 2TB HDDs.
"These drives aren’t in a system like Drobo or synology so I know there is no redundancy & chances are that if they go south I will be out of luck. Is there an app that can test the health of a drive to see what is what?"
Yes, of course. There are TONs of apps that will analyze and tell you the health of your drives