Like Van Halen, Rush drew criticism for the increasing use of keyboards. Unlike Van Halen, more keyboards actually did seem to mean less success for Rush.
Counterparts (after the “synth era”) made it to #2 on the charts. Tied with Moving Pictures (before/early “synth era”). 2112 (before the “synth era”) only made it to #61, but went triple platinum. Power Windows and Hold Your Fire—considered the peaks of Rush’s “synth era”—didn’t score as well by either measure.
Having been a more avid Rush than Van Halen fan, I can say that—personally—instrumentation means little to me. I like both their guitar-driven and “synth era” albums.