The earlier firmware is only needed if you wish to play iso ripped copies of blu-ray discs. The downside is that your 95 will not play some ordinary blu-ray discs due to compatibility issues.
The basic mod chip is less convenient than pro chip, nowadays that's the only real downside. The upside is that the basic mod chip hasn't had issues with firmware updates (not that I'm expecting Oppo to release any further firmware updates unless there are some major disc compatibility issues with new releases).
I've got a BDP95 with the pro chip. Installation is fiddly (even with the basic chip), as you need to remove the DAC board and change some small ribbon cables. I haven't tried one of the USB alternatives like this, but it does look a whole lot easier to install.