SmartFocus is intended to help automate the process of taking a large full-screen video, and making it fit a smaller dimension. In other words, when you wish to reduce the dimension of your source video while maintaining visual quality.
So if your recording dimensions are larger than 1280x720, and your editing dimensions are 1280x720, then SmartFocus could still help. If you're recording at 1280x720 and editing at 1280x720, then you're already at 1:1 scale, which will yield no quality loss, and SmartFocus has nothing to do.
You mentioned that SmartFocus could "could probably help save time if we could actually use it." Can you explain this point a little more? I'd like to better understand your workflow and how you think this might help. Thanks in advance for any details you can provide.
As for performance... with CS7, we use multi-threading in our Rendering pipeline, but do not use the video card, except for basic display of the composited video. So in your case, the quad-core processor will help, but the fast video card won't make much of a difference. We plan to improve this in future versions. I can't give details yet, but we have some exciting performance improvements in store.