I'm currently upgrading my system, and as I'm going through getting the rest of my parts, I was wondering if I should upgrade to 7. I currently run XP Pro, and love it. I avoided Vista at all costs, and every time I've used 7, I just haven't been wow'd by the layout, and sometimes even frustrated. I was wondering if there was anything in the pro column that would outweigh. I am a casual gamer, WoW, Skyrim, SCII, and thinking about getting into SWToR. These are the specs I will be running when everything is finished:
Core i3-2100 (might go to i5-2400)
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 motherboard
2x SAPPHIRE 100328L Radeon HD 6770 1GB, crossfired
4x4GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600
At least 6TB of SATA HDD (might upgrade more)
Dual 21" ACER monitors running 1920x1080
HDMI hookup to my TV
win 7 is the way to go ....i did from xp pro and am very happy - just takes getting used to ... nice debug tools with win 7 and a stable system...xp support will be(has been?) dropped. also go 64 bit if you haven't done so already...i did so from 32 bit to 64. had to get a new printer since my old printer didnt have win 7 driver support.... bottom line my confidence level is as it was with xp.... i purchased 7 ultimate oem for about $140 --- if you research the guts you might find that there are additional optimizations in 7 that xp lacks ... dont hobble that nice new system
I kept XP Pro as my home PC OS as well, however after using windows 7 every day at work, I have grown to really like it. The only reason I could see keeping XP is for older games that don't like Win7 or if you simply can't afford the upgrade. I currently run Windows 7 as the primary OS on my home PC, however I kept XP Pro as the secondary OS so I could play some older titles that aren't Win7 friendly and it was just easier to do that than mess with patches.
1. Can Use more than 4GB Ram
2. TRIM support for SSD's
3. Ongoing support from MS
Well first and most importantly you will need a 64 bit OS to take advantage of more than 4GB of RAM. Since 64 bit XP was never real good that is reason enough.
Windows 7 is more secure with lower malware rates than XP. It is more efficient and most games see a slight gain in 7 compared to XP. Windows 7 has Direct X 11.
Windows XP was designed to run on a 1Ghz single core processor with 256-512MB of RAM. It was changed over the years with it's Service Packs to become the huge mass of bloat it is today.
Windows 7 was designed for multicore processors with loads of RAM. Windows 7 supports TRIM for SSDs.
When you install Windows 7 you no longer have to go on an hours long driver hunt. 7 has drivers for most things including RAID built in.
And last but nowhere near least Windows XP reaches it's end of life in 2014. No more updates... ever. No fixes, no security updates, no more even looking for flaws. It is a dead OS. Windows 7 will last until 2020.
It was good while it lasted but I moved to Windows 7 during the Beta testing and never looked back. Windows 7 is a superior operating system in every way.
One big point no one mentioned is Directx 9 vs 11. With new games you will only find support for Directx 11. I to hate haveing to leave XP but you won't have much choice with the new games out. The biggest issue with Win 7 are those things that are more difficult to tweek in 7. I prefer the ease of tweeking XP over 7.
The whole time I have had Win 7 I have only ever encountered one program that would not run on the 64 bit version. It would run on the 32 bit version of Win 7. That was because the program in question had a 16 bit installer and 64 bit Win 7 does not support 16 bit software. Any other minor glitches were sorted out by using compatibility mode.
I upgraded from a core 2 duo e8400, 2 gb 800 ram, geforce 250 gt, to a core i5 2500k, 4 go ram, geforce 550 ti
Then tested with xp and 7: Nothing overclock.
After testing games and efficiency: I mostly use XP for game, internet and work (but can dual boot in 7 or xp)
But since your putting more than 3 gb ram : Win 7 64 bit would be the best thing to do for you.
The problem with xp 64 bit is lack of drivers and problem with some programs / games
Starcraft has problems with Win 7 but can be sorted out through a work around thought it sounds a bit painful. Warcraft 2 will not work on the 64 bit version probably due to a dependency on 16 bit architecture.
Possible fixes include buying Starcraft 2 and Warcraft 3 ;-) or using Win 7 32 bit or as you say dual booting.