05-17-2011, 07:32 AM
I can comment on some of your questions, but others more worthy and experienced will no doubt deal with the "bigger" issues.
I admit to being almost "pathological" about backups because loss of an accumulated experience of 30+ years' material would be near catastrophic for me.
So this is my meagre contribution:
Treat your mac mini IHD in the way I use my iMac SSD - store the OS, applications and personal folder (the bit that mustn't be moved.
Move your Documents and libraries (iPhoto, Aperture, iMovie etc) to a dedicated 2TB EHD. (Call it EHD1)
A second dedicated EHD2 (like you said) could be used for Time Machine, but as you have things configured above, TM will only back up your IHD, I think - not your EHD (others will correct me if I'm wrong).
What I would do would be to purchase a third EHD, partition it into two - purchase SuperDuper! and clone the IHD to one partition and the iPhoto etc EHD1 to the other partition.
That way, you've two back up systems working in different ways. Moreover, SuperDuper! makes the partition containing the OS reboot-able. Very handy.
I'm not a great fan of off-site storage or fire safes in a domestic situation. Others may disagree, but you can't ever be risk-zero!
Finally, I must state that I have no connection with the IT industry and no financial or any other interests in SuperDuper! or any other company whatsoever.
These are my simple thoughts. The more learned will take things further. I do very much want to compliment you on taking backups seriously.