For the operating system, I prefer windows 7 to 8/10 for security, stability and usability. I have other computers that run various flavors of linux and windows 8/10 (or dual boot), and when I get around to replacing the desktop I’ll of course have to choose to either update to Windows 10 or switch permanently to some form of linux, but I really don’t want to switch until I have to.
For the DAC, I bought the Ultra Amp/DAC/Power supply combo new a long time ago, and audio-quality wise, I’ve never had any issues with it. If I were to upgrade anything, I would probably want to buy a few new pairs of headphones, before I would consider upgrading the amp/dac stack. I don’t have anything against updating, but I feel as if it’s still a reasonably good AMP/DLC, any $3000-$5000 upgrade would be minimal at best as far as what I could hear, and I would rather spend the money on headphones given the choice. If it broke, of course, I would replace it with something updated.
As far as my original question goes, apparently the DAC likely only supports USB 1.0 regardless of driver updates, and the generic Windows 2.0 driver is fairly recent and only supports Windows 10. There are third party USB 2.0 audio drivers for Windows 7, but since it is likely the DAC only supports Class 1, 48 kHz is likely the max I’m getting out of the USB input. It does have both Coax and TOSLINK inputs though, so I’ll try those. Until now, I’ve been using the USB input, and have no issues with it, but was examining the driver properties a bit ago, which prompted this whole thing. But, if I can get a higher input sampling with Coax/TOSLINK, I should definitely do that!
I ordered a couple Monoprice Monolith TOSLINK/Coax cables, will see how they sound once they get here. I’m generally in the ‘bits are bits’ camp, but I can understand if i have alot of noise in my setup (whether external or internal), a bad coax may possibly sound worse than a toslink which will sound worse than a good coax, so if I can hear a difference between the two, I’ll consider buying a higher-grade Coax or a glass-core optical.