Originally Posted by Bah!
That just doesn't sound right at all unless you are running an extremely low resolution. There is no way a single 480 is only using 10-40% of it's power. I routinely see my 480's go into the 90's in SLI with the same speed processor at 1920x1080.
Do you just play old or less demanding games?
Anyway, the bottom line is that a q9550 + 2 480's will be a hell of a lot faster than an i7 and 1 480. Sure the i7 is a better cpu, but it's not nearly as big a jump as a second 480 would be.
Edit: If your CPU bottlenecks your 480, why do you have your 480 overclocked? Overclocking a video card that bottlenecked by the CPU will give zero performance benefit, so you might as well leave it at stock.
I didn't say ALL the time, I said most of the time. Mainly because I play older games more often than not. When I play newer games like Metro in DX11, then yes, the GPU is working 80 - 100%. I just believe he would benefit more from an overclocked I7 and a 480 over 480 SLI with an overclocked Q9550. Very few games would properly utilise that much processing power.
The question we should be asking is, what type of games does he play normally? If 90% of the time spent gaming is on something like DX11 BC2, then yes. Go get another 480. If it's spent playing games like MW2, WoW, GTA IV or Fallout 3, upgrade the CPU/Motherboard/Ram.