1. I'd consider an SSD as more reliable than a HDD. But not so reliable of course, that you can forget to backup. Backup is essential always. But it's must faster, and that's why some prefer it.
2. The slower CPU is certainly fast enough for what you do with you Macbook.
A couple more questions re purchasing the MacBook Pro (non-retina):
first - is the ssd option the most reliable? I can get a TB of storage on a 5400rpm hard drive for $50 or it would cost $650 of 512GB on a solid-state. I don't need any huge amount of storage but I am after reliability - opinions? experiences?
Second - I'll be doing mostly writing, some music composing, a bit on iPhoto and iTunes - and internet, of course - but little, if any movies, streaming, design work, etc. This model comes with a 2.5GH dual-core IntelCore i5 - or 2.9 GH .... - is the processing difference significant?