Yeah, they make the bathtub in forged, just not the early deep one. The forged versions match the '94-'97 piston volume, and of course I'm after the max volume in a production cheapo version. No biggie, as the current hyper dished versions are inexpensive and have better shape anyway.
I'll disagree about the balancing issue. Two reasons - all side loads require power to make, and out-of-balance needs energy to make the side load. Not huge power, but it's a parasite. For example, a 160 gr. imbalance (about the same as adding H-beam rods to your small block) will create a side load of over 380 pounds at 6000 rpm. Hard on parts and bearings, and obviously it's taking energy to make that load away from the rear wheels.
Second, the stress in the parts is increased, leading to failure sooner or at lower rpms. So, although balancing won't make huge power, it extends the power you can
make before exceeding your safety factor or simply blowing it up. Even the parts wear in increased. For example, all engines certifying for 100,000 miles minimum service life (your car) must be balanced to ISO1940 minimums to qualify. That tells us that an engine not balanced to at least those factory specs will not likely last that long. Performance balancing is half that error or less - generally 3 grams/inch or better - to reduce stress, failures, and extend engine life. I vote for fine balancing every time.
BTW - sorry to the OP we hijacked this thread. At least it's relevant - sort-of. Since two more found the round-dish pistons (Tex & 70XL), I called a friend who was a big-cheese at one of the Ford engine plants during that era, and he had some interesting comments. In a nutshell, the export truck engines and parts never made it to export, as it's hard enough to get spare parts overseas without it also being a "new design" and it was rejected. So they went into regular car production as 'fill-ins'. Although they are a smaller percentage, some car lines (mostly full-size it seems) had a much larger percentage and are not uncommon. The famous C9 and later "truck rods" that performance builders prefer got their nickname from the same original source. So, it's possible one area of the country near that plant or certain model lines saw a lot of these pistons and/or rods, and others didn't. Interesting. To me, anyway.