Upgrading and Repairing PCs

Date: December 16th, 2001

URL: http://www.upgradingandrepairingpcs.com/

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Rating: Excellent!

Review:

 

Scott Mueller’s “Upgrading and Repairing PCs (13th Edition)” is the ultimate computer reference book. This 1600 page masterpiece contains an amazing collection of history, data, specs, instructions, and tips for personal computer hardware. It covers the following topics:

 

  • Personal Computer Background
  • PC Components, Features, and System Design
  • Microprocessor Types and Specifications
  • Motherboards and Buses
  • BIOS
  • Memory
  • The IDE Interface
  • The SCSI Interface
  • Magnetic Storage Pricinples
  • Hard Disk Storage
  • Floppy Disk Storage
  • High-Capacity Removable Storage
  • Optical Storage
  • Physical Drive Installation and Configuration
  • Video Hardware
  • Audio Hardware
  • I/O Interfaces from Serial and Parallel to IEEE-1394 and USB
  • Input Devices
  • Internet Connectivity
  • Local Area Networking
  • Power Supply and Chassis/Case
  • Portable PCs
  • Building or Upgrading Systems
  • PC Diagnostics, Testing, and Maintenance
  • File Systems and Data Recovery

As you can see by this list, the book covers every single component inside a PC and then some. While the heft of the book and the number of pages might look a little intimidating, the index in the back is almost 100 pages long, making it extremely easy to locate information about the topic you’re interested in.

Ease of use is something the author obviously put a lot of thought into, and it shows not only in the index. Besides a detailed Glossary and an explanation of Acronyms each chapter starts out with a easy to understand explanation of the hardware focused on in the chapter, gradually progresses into the details and specs, then digging deep into the technical guts, exposing the innards down to the last bit.

This gradient structure of each chapter makes it valuable for both the beginner by explaining the history, basics, and functionality of each component, as well as the expert by providing very detailed and technical specs such as voltages and pin assignments.

While the book offers a lot of interesting facts and history, its main use is as a reference guide. Whatever question you might have, use the index to locate the chapter with the info you need, then read up on it. This book is the ideal guide for many different groups of computer users:

 

  • first-time computer users who would like to have a handy reference to learn a little bit about the different hardware components
  • intermediate computer users who want to try repairing or upgrading themselves, or need some assistance in building their first own system
  • expert computer users who want a handy reference guide for any technical info they might need in their daily work with computer hardware

The book is chockfull of tables with specs. You’ll find voltages, pin assignments, error codes, socket types, bus speeds, power consumption, temperatures, steppings, code names, multipliers, bus widths, pin outs, bandwidth, IRQs, ports, addresses, and much, much more in nicely laid-out tables and arrays.

As if that’s not enough, the book is accompanied by a CD-ROM that contains editions 6 through 12 of the book in PDF format, over 90 minutes of how-to videos, numerous technical references also in PDF format, a vendor database, tons of links, and more.

By now you probably get the idea: This book rocks! It belongs on the shelf of every helpdesk person, PC technician, sys admin, and any other person dealing with computer hardware. It has earned a permanent spot in my computer reference library.

Submitted by: Alex “crazygerman” Byron

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