Don't worry about any of this unless you want to change up your tune. There are several good programmer choices out there. For a straight up programmer without being able to change the tune itself, I personally like the ease and simplicity of the AEV ProCal and am just fine without any kind of a trail dash for monitoring unless I am running a tuning session or something.
If you do want to change the tune (read: ignition timing and AFRs), I recommend that you spend more time looking at the programmers. For a canned tune, they are probably all fairly equal. If you want to go for a custom tune with someone like Diablotoona, you should contact them first to see what kind of tuners they work with because they need to be using the correct software on their end to do the tunes so that you can upload the files to the device. By running the canned 91 tune, I noticed more SOTP power over the stock 87 tune. After going through the logging with WBO2 and getting a custom 91 octane tune, I got even more HP from the 91 octane fuel because the tuner was able to monitor my detonation and AFRs an bump the timing even more without detonation.
Octane does one thing.. It slows the burn rate of the fuel. Slowing the burn rate will cause the cylinder to make power further through the stroke.
While it is true that changing the ignition timing after upping the octane can yield better performance, it can lead to other issues. The worst would be lean out. So go ahead and add ignition timing if you want but don't forget about the other things in the fuel/air delivery system.
We're kind of off in the weeds with this and you are missing my point here. You won't have to necessarily change your AFRs if you bump your timing but the AFRs because the engine computer will compensate for that to a degree. I think that it would be safe to assume that the "canned" tunes included with these tuners for higher octane fuel have had both the ignition as well as fuel maps tweaked so your point is probably moot. As I already mentioned, they probably fatten up the top end (AFRs ~11.5 - 12) at WOT to cool the combustion temp to help with that increased timing. Nothing here suggests that you should simply adjust the ignition timing and forget about the AFRs. In my case, I am also running wide band O2 (WBO2) for precise AFR monitoring. My AFRs are dialed in and right in the custom tune. I had a custom tune when I was NA and also now that I am FI and have run them extensively. I also have both a 91 and a 100 octane custom tune for FI as well as NA. So that is 4 separate custom tunes.
You'll swing the needle more on a dyno by making ignition timing adjustments than you will making fuel adjustments unless the fuel was just so badly off in the first place. AEM made a video that proves this where they separately tweak the ignition timing and AFRs on a car that is sitting on a dyno. Bumping the ignition timing 2-3 degrees makes power.
Most folks that actually notice a difference with engines that are designed to run on low octane fuel might feel it as a smoother idle. That to me say's you have a problem to address and changing fuel octane is just a band aid.
How were you able to decide this about other people? How many cars have you actually tuned? You do not know what you are talking about. Most of the folks here are working with engines that don't have a problem and don't need a band aid yet they can still make more HP by using a custom tune and higher octane fuel.
Granted, you can't just crank up your ignition timing and expect free HP but nobody is saying that. Not me. You are only going to get so much increase before hitting MBT (maximum brake torque AKA maximum base timing) and that has to be figured out painstakingly on a dyno by tweaking the ignition a little at a time and taking the readings.
Bottom line here is that you will see a small gain if you have a tuner that allows you to change the tune for a higher octane fuel.
The compression ratio is sort of meaningless for the argument here in this thread. My European 3.0L (E46 BMW) has 10.2:1 compression and requires premium fuel because that is how it is tuned. No reason why you cannot run that modern pentastar like it's a BMW or Mercedes engine. All it needs is the fuel and a tune for that fuel.