Upgrading and Repairing PC’s, 15th Anniversary Edition

Reviewed by: Thomas V. Kappel, send e-mail
Published by: QUE Books, go to the web site
Requires: N/A
MSRP: $59.99

This five-pound book of over 1600 pages, plus a DVD, is not exactly something you'd take to the beach to read. That is, unless you want to know everything there is to know about the insides of a PC, how it all works, modding, overclocking or building your own gaming rig. If so, this is the perfect book to read anytime or anywhere you like.

This 15th edition of Upgrading and Repairing PC’s is also a must-have reference book for anyone working on PC’s, training for the A+ certification exam, upgrading, repairing, consulting or just doing work for friends and neighbors on their computer hardware problems. It’s packed with information about all aspects of a PC, even a little something about the Apple line of computers. It also comes with a DVD containing about two hours of entertaining instructional video.

Holding 24 chapters of information covering CPU operating voltages, motherboards and buses, BIOS, memory, cable pin outs, ATA/IDE interfaces, SCSI, IO’s, hard drive, floppy drive, optical drive storage, input and output devices, the book also contains nearly every acronym related to upgrading and repairing personal computers. This book is a reference work for every one of us who needs to stick our hands inside a computer to work on and conquer these dastardly and wonderful little devices.

The first chapter in the book is all about computer history or rather, “Before Personal Computers.” How about John Napier creating wooden or ivory rods for calculating—1617! How about Pascal? Heard the name before? I'll bet not in this way. Blaise Pascal introduced the Pascaline digital adding machine in the year 1642. You want something a little more modern in history? How about 1822, 1936, 1943, 1960, 1980, and 64 bit processing for home computers in 2003? It’s all in the book. The complete timeline of computer history, the first microprocessor, Moore’s Law and the computer industry today are all covered along with every bit, byte and megahertz to fire your digital mind and warm your overclocked heart.

There are countless times when I desperately wished for a book like this to be sitting on my library shelf, or out in the car, or in my already overweight toolbox. Times that I needed to look up a broken pin in a cable to see if it was important, or remember what the different POST beep codes from different manufacturer’s designated, or what the power supply pin-outs and voltages should be, and then there’s always the memory chips; hundreds of different types, layouts, speeds, voltages, and on and on. You get the idea here, I'm sure.

Now for the surprise, the DVD! Okay, the video on the disk is perhaps more aligned to the novice and early learners of the technology. It’s okay to watch if you need a technician to show you a few things, but most of us using the book have probably been down the road a long way already and we're hungry for information and help. That’s the surprise. The author of this book and DVD along with QUE books actually cares about the audience of this book. Why? Because, they know that even in 1600 + pages they had to cut a lot of information about the older computers and devices, and peripherals to produce a book of somewhat reasonable size and price. So, they put 5 previous Upgrading and Repairing PC’s books in PDF format on the DVD for those purchasing the book to use as additional reference. And that’s not all; they also included a large amount of manufacturer information on the disk as well. That’s enough reference material to fill a long book shelf.

I often need a good computer reference book, or in this case a library of books, and so do you. This is not a good one - it's a great one to have and own! If you work on any kind of computer or are the person who gets the really hard repair problems, go get this book. It’s money well spent the very first time it saves your butt and your sanity.

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