Thank you for the feedback. As for navigating the Forums, the menu that appears on the upper right is aimed at navigating the forums specifically and there are far fewer options there. As we look to replace the solution currently in place, we will take this feedback into consideration. I'd appreciate any sites that you do like and why as well.
Google new Gmail does a good job at showing lots of records (Threads) without having to scroll. I have minimized their left side bar also. the do a good job at using pop-outs when you hover over sections.