I do not believe a 550ti is faster than 9800's in SLI. Let me see if I can find some sort of comparison.
Based on what I can find, it will take at least a 560ti or 570 to match the performance of 9800 gtx's. Though the vram upgrade could remove bottlenecks on some games.
After a lot of research and trial and error I have found that turning off antialiasing and anisotropic filtering through Skyrim has let me turn everything else to ultra settings. Then using Nvidia's settings to control those settings it's worked wonderfully since. The only bottle necking is the code and processor at this point but that's trivial as it can be fixed with mods.
Thank you for the help and saving me some hard earned dollars.