If you look at the avatars that have a width of 80 px (the max size) there is still a lot of room to the right of the pic. That column of the table that the pic is set to 160 px wide.
Could you change the settings of the avatar dimentions (Admin CP, Systems Settings, User Profiles) to 150x80?
This would give us more creative room, we would use space that does nothing now, the max file size rules would still be enforced and page loads and server load would not be increased in any way.
This would take about 60 seconds to do and I don't see how this could have any negative effect on the board. And if you don't like it, it will only take another 60 seconds to change it back.