Questions: Storage + Backup + Dock/Hub
After having searched forums, Reddit, online posts and contacting Apple Support, I come to you for an opinion on hardware and workflow.
I recently got a Mac mini (m1) with 8/256.
2019 MacBook Pro 8/512 passed down to spouse.
3TB Western Digital HDD which is 10 year old. Partitioned into two - 1 TB for MacBook Pro time machine backup and 2TB for personal storage.
Most days are spent inside of Chrome, Word, Excel and Mail.
I do value my photo collection and it will continue to increase. We don’t view them often. There are valuable videos as well, but usage is minimal.
Hardly any music or saved movies.
Questions and Concerns:
To save on the costs, I planned to get external storage. And I’m severely confused after going down the rabbit hole - should I get an SSD, HDD, SATA, bus-powered, NVMe, heat issues, enclosure or out-of-the-box, Mac Mini speed issues over TB and USB etc.
(1) Which storage solution according to you would be good knowing my usage? Should I get a separate drive for the time machine and separate for data storage/access?
(2) Since the old drive is 10 year old, and is not SMART compatible, is it time to discard it/not rely on it a lot?
(3) Can I somehow take Time Machine backup on both devices without having to manually connect the MacBook Pro to the drive? Something that can happen in the background and maybe wirelessly?
P.S.: I know Backblaze is an option but I don’t plan on subscribing to the service for now. Happy to get a one-time license like CCC. I also considered a NAS, but not technically inclined to configure DNS, VPN and whatnot.
(4) I want to connect additional devices to my Mac mini like a podcasting mic and a camera, keyboard dongle, SSD/HDD. Will the Tripp Lite hub that I mentioned above work, or should I get an OWC/Caldigit dock?
I appreciate your assistance with this.