Hmm... Well this is entertaining. One of the things I discuss with certain people quite often is whether or not the average mere mortal will actually need in-computer expansion capabilities such as slots and extra hard disc bays. I know, almost everybody could always use more memory, but honestly, will most people ever actually install an upgrade graphics card?
I typically say that most average human beings won't need these things, and in fact a lot of people who are considered "high end" users don't actually use a lot of the expansion capabilities bestowed upon them. I typically include myself in this, because I realize that almost everything I've ever wanted for my Macs has either been an add-on that I could do externally via a firewire port, or something I didn't need.
On the other hand... just today, I found one or two different PCI Express cards that I'd like, and I realized that if I had the opportunity to do so, I would probably have all four bays of a MacPro filled within a year. Getting those drives will cost more because I've got to figure out something to put them in, and when I do that, I won't even get all of the performance the drives are capable of offering. (after filling the internal bays, I'd probably have to try to get an eSATA card. :P)
And all of this comes from just two tangents I went on today... data longevity and video i/o. Actually, data longevity led to video. I was researching using a MiniDV deck as a tape drive for making backups of my iMac's external hard discs. (one of which is, in and of itself, a backup of its startup drive) From there, I was surprised at how much cheaper it is to buy a whole MiniDV camcorder than to buy a standalone MiniDV or Digi8 deck. From there, i researched high def camcorders. I found that there is a 3-ccd Panasonic camcorder selling for less than 600usd. The catch is that it records AVCHD data onto DVDs or SDHC cards, and AVCHD is pretty much impossible to use on a Mac.
Enter another PCI-E card. It turns out that blackmagic design has a card out there with HDMI input for just $249 This brings a complete high-def setup (with a fairly nice camera) for less than a thousand bucks. (though there is the Canon HV10 for 650 too, which is "proper" tape-based HDV that can be imported into imovie or final cut.
Well... not that I've got money for any of those upgrades now, or for the prerequisite "really high end Mac," but it was at least an interesting observation on the apparently "not totally useless" expansion slots, and how a higher initial investment in a system with more options for connectivity can result in a lower investment later for things like getting into high def video, or expanding storage capacity. I think next time I buy a Mac, I'm going to save up a bit more and try to get a MacPro [or whatever midrange/highend system is suitable at the time].
6 years ago