Hi Jeff, thank you for sharing your experiences. I don’t think the Activity Monitor and GPU history say so much about the performance. It shows how busy they are, not how well they are performing. I think a good, simple test would be to load many ISF shaders (FX and/or generators) and check when you notice the frame rate going down. If you load the same shaders on both systems then that will tell you something about their capabilities and how they compare.
EboSuite uses the GPU fully, so the more cores the better. EboSuite uses one graphic card, so if you add an extra, separate graphic card, then that will make no difference. The GPU is most important, but a more powerful CPU will also help, because the communication with Live, the Max for Live devices and Live itself run on the CPU.
Tracks/channels are processed only when they are active and visible. The number of visible tracks, the number of videos playing, the dimensions of the videos, camera, Syphon stream and ISF shaders, the number of effects (in use), affect the performance. Changing the dimensions/resolution of the videos and ISF shaders is an easy way to relieve the GPU. It differs a lot per ISF shader how demanding they are. That depends on how they are set up and what operations they use. So it is good to pay attention to that.
Video playback is more demanding than using still images. Videos with a lot of ‘noisy’ frames (so frames with a lot of animating details) will be slightly more demanding.