So in putting together my "Zoom-Off" analysis I found that the having repeated members on or off made very little difference in performance but the reason Excel was bombing was not having the gzip option turned on. Tim, this probably makes more sense to what you were thinking should be happening - it does now to me that I understand it.
That is what I get for changing more than one thing at a time. I changed the setting in Smart View to suppress repeat members at the same time I added the setting to turn on gzip compression.
Smart View is now successfully retrieving over 2 million rows. It does take some time to process that large of a retrieve but it does correctly return and render the data.
So to sroux,
I'd say that smartview is stable and I would recommend moving your users to it. Even before this issue was resolved our users loved the improvements/features in 184.108.40.206.103. I've been using the classic add-in for over 4 years now and would have to say that I like Smart View better now (and I was a classic junkie).
And Oracle was great to work with on the support issue. I think Matt was spot on when he said you just need to configure it correctly and understand it because it does have more moving parts than the classic add-in.
Let me know if you have questions...I'd be happy to go through all the "settings learning curve" we've gone through over the past few months getting everything to work well.
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