I have stock rods in my aba-T. 12-15 psi for two years now. Not driven all year round though, car gets stored over the winter. Dynoed at the wheels 178 hp, 240 ft-lbs.
If you are going stock rods:
1. Use ARP bolts on the rod caps (have big end re-sized after install). I did not do this but I bet it would increase strength. I'm doing this for a 16VT project (already done just need to put the motor together)
2. Like you said any additional processing is likely to help strength such as shot peening, balancing etc.
Big reason that rods blow through blocks=Over-revving. If you properly size the turbo, you can keep the rev range down, make lots of torque low to mid rpm and have fun without blowing stuff up. All it takes is a mis-shift to over-rev and break things.
Read up on how inertial forces work inside an IC engine. You would be surprised how rpm increases the load (forces) exponentially on connecting rods vs. actual output power increasing. I read this in Corky Bells book called "maximum boost". Great read