Haswell rMBP or refurb Ivy Bridge rMBP
I'm thinking about getting a 13" rMBP.
The IB one with a 128GB SSD and 8GB RAM is $1059.
The IB one with a 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM is $1229. ($170 more...)
The Haswell one with a 128GB SSD and 4GB RAM is $1300.
With a 128GB SSD and 8GB RAM, it's $1400.
With a 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM, it's $1500.
With the student discount, these are all $100 less.
I don't think 4GB is enough for me in some cases, and it is soldered, so I definitely want 8. I'd rather have a 256GB SSD, but can put up with 128GB if necessary. I'll need an external drive for all my media anyway, so what difference does it make?
Also, I'm worried about the lack of upgradeability on these. That said, I like how smoothly OS X handles high DPIs in general, including multiple monitors, compared to 8.1. I also think 8.1 is better laid out than 8.x in general. I need this to last for at least 3 years. (at that point, I'll be at my 3rd year of college, and may get a new main machine) If the Haswell rMBP has a M.2 SSD, that's a selling point for me.
In general, I do a lot of web surfing, listening to music, a bunch of word processing, and a bit of image editing and virtualization. (I almost never game, so that's low priority.) It's enough that my netbook feels slow (Thinkpad x120e, AMD E350), but most laptops should be able to handle it just fine. I like the 13" form factor better than 15", though 15" tends to offer more screen space. (1680x1050 simulated on 13" is acceptable, though on the smaller end of what I'm OK with.) The machine needs to be portable. I don't care one bit about the optical drive - I can get an external for the few times I need it. I sure haven't missed it on the netbook much.
If you guys think there are any other models that are worth checking out, feel free to mention them!