Macbook Pro 13" regular vs. Retina display
The 2012 MBP, "regular", can have it's memory upgraded: support.apple.com/kb/HT1270. So you could purchase it with 4GB, wait a year or two, then sell your 4GB and upgrade to 8GB.
The memory for the retina MBP is not upgradable.
I'd also suggest upgrading the hard disk to a solid state drive now or in a couple years.
That's the older Retina Macbook, from earlier in 2013 I believe. 128GB of storage isn't a whole lot, but they do have a version with double that for $200 more.
The 4th generation i5 (Haswell i think) does offer some battery improvements and better graphics than the older model. Also take into account they made the new model smaller and lighter then the one form early 2013. They also upgraded it to use Thunderbolt 2.
I think, but i am not sure but they may have also upgraded the SSD and the RAM like they did in the airs. But to be honest i am not 100% sure on that one.
The non sales price on the MACMALL one was 1499 and apple sells a similar model (8gb Ram, 128 SSD, and a 2.4i5) for 1399. The 329 saving on the previous model is nice and its still a damn good machine but i would really give it a second thought before buying it.
Where's the one that you mentioned Apple is selling currently? The only one I see is 1299 with 4gb of RAM (I would prefer 8, especially since you can't add more in these newer MBPs), and the next one up is 1499, which I can't afford...
One of the reasons i buy Macs over PCs is the resell value. i get a better price on them then i do on most PCs based laptops i have owned.
you also mentioned the Mac vs PC needs. Thats a tough one. myself i still have a windows 8PC as well as my main machine at home which is a mac mini. On it i have Parallels with a win 7 VM because some of the software i need for work just won't run on a Mac or on windows 8.
Normally, I would get a PC because of the cost alone. (Spend half as much, get twice as good specs.) However, I need MIDI software, and so far I haven't seen any for PC that I like. If I do go with a Mac, I'm definitely going to get Windows 7 or 8 for it along with OS X, because there's so much software out there that's Windows only.
Also check out retailers like Best Buy and see what they offer up. Also look at the open box section of their sites or even a local store. They usually knock off around 5% to 10% if its returned. And you still get the full apple warranty when you register the device.
And lastly check out Apple's own refurbished section. some times you can find some good deals here from them directly. store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/ma...
I've thought about going refurb, but I want a new one. There's just something about having a brand new laptop. :)
Best of the best:
Cpu: retina - new haswell processor
IGpu: retina - new iris 5100
Hard drive: retina - ultra fast new ssd! Yes, the capacity may be smaller but it is ssooooooo much faster than the traditional hdd
Wireless card: retina - new ac wifi card
Battery life: retina - apple approximates 9 hours. I get around 6-10 depending on what I am doing
Weight: retina - 3.5 lbs
Disk drive: cmbp - since it has one
I/o ports: retina - only difference is retina has Thunderbolt 2 while cmbp doesn't but otherwise the same.
Repairability/upgradability: cmbp - you can change out a lot more parts in the classic model and the bottom is easy to open with standard screwdriver.
Last but not least.....
SCREEN - RETINA!!!! again I say... Retina screen is beyond beautiful. Only people who haven't used a retina screen Mac can say that they don't care for more pixels.
Long story short. Best Value, best of the best, and just for awesome computerness ( know not a word) the retina wins in all the categories that matter most!!!! At least to the majority of the consumer population.
Its a gorgeous, powerful and sleek machine.
My self, i tend to keep my laptops for about 2 years and then i sell them. I believe you are going to get a better resell value on the 13" retina then you will on the non retina models.