I have a Gigabyte Model EP43-DS3L motherboard (CPU socket 775 LGA if that's helpful or relevant), and a Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 CPU at stock 2.53GHz.
I'm trying to keep my system semi-relevant for modern games (specifically MechWarrior Online which has a listed minimum CPU that seems to be a bit higher, Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz). I could probably overclock my current CPU to a higher rate than that one, but my system isn't terribly heat efficient so I'm trying to avoid that route.
Can I go any higher with this motherboard? I believe the CPU on my system is the largest bottleneck currently, but the whole thing is rather outdated. I'd trash it and make a new one from scratch but I'm really on a budget nowadays so I'd really rather just throw on a new CPU.
Also, hate to squeeze two separate questions into one thread, but I'm considering upgrading from Windows XP SP3 to Windows 7, because I have 4gb of RAM and XP only takes advantage of 3gb~ IIRC. Would I stand more to gain than to lose from that, considering my full specs listed below.
Full system specs:
Windows XP SP3
Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 @ 2.53GHZ
4GB DDR2 RAM
I wouldn't spend anymore money on hardware without getting a new motherboard and CPU. As a consequence you would need DDR3 RAM too. The performance gain from upgrading a 2.53GHz dual core chip to a 2.7GHz dual core chip is negligible. Perhaps you could find a Core 2 Quad, I believe those are socket 775. However, since these chips have been discontinued you will have to look on ebay or somewhere that sells used/refurbished parts.
You can go higher with that. That motherboard will handle a Core 2 Quad and some overclocking but the problem is that those things are becoming pretty scarce and if you do find them, theyre usually pretty pricey if new. You can find ones like a Q9550 for $200-300 on Ebay but youre having to buy used which is risky.
Honestly, it does look like youre looking at a complete motherboard and CPU swap. This shouldnt be that big a deal since youre already wanting to swap to a different OS.
If you live near a Microcenter, they have insane deals on Intel procs right now with a 2500K going for $170 and a 3570K going for $190 I believe and they have $40 off a motherboard when you buy it with a CPU.
However, if you dont live near one, youre still not too bad out of luck. You can get a 13-2120 for $130 and you can pick up a Z68 or Z77 motherboard for under $100 fairly easily. Stick a set of $25 RAM in there, install your new copy of Win7 and youre set.