Just discovered this article and plan to read thoroughly. For several years we used a technique to update stats in parallel with as many as four threads, using an approach similar to this: http://www.sql-server-performance.com/2007/parallel-stats-update/2/
Over time we began to get the 15-second IO wait messages in the sql log, mostly in tempdb due to sorting very large indexes with a sample rate of 80%. Dropping back to just a single update stat process, no parallel processes, got rid of most but not all of those IO messages during update stats -- we've been using 80% sample for years.
So I began testing and found 1) update stats will run parallel threads only at 100% sample, unless other means are used such as your Service Broker approach. I suspect 100% will also get rid of our IO messages once adopted, and I presume this is due to removing the need to sort in tempdb at sample rates below 100%.
2) Until I lowered sample rate down below 30% it actually took less time to update stats at 100% Since a sample rate that low won't work in our database, we can't use sample rates that low -- many queries run too slowly.
3) Running a batch of 400 queries captured from production ( all of which took 5 seconds or more to run in production) after updating all statistics was generally fastest at 100% sample. For those tests I updated all stats ( not just those with modified rows ) at 100%, 80, 50 and 30 percent for each run of the query batch.
I ran the query batch both with a complete cache clear and then without.