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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
O’Reilly’s straight-shootin’, no-holds-barred, quality-focused PC hardware book is back, in a Second Edition that’s even more indispensable than the first.
The “Hardware Guys” -- Barbara Fritchman Thompson and Robert Bruce Thompson -- have updated PC Hardware in a Nutshell to reflect pretty much everything that’s come down the pike in the two years following the first edition, including Athlon XP/MP microprocessors, USB 2.0, and the “Big Drive” initiative for ATA drives larger than 137 gigs.
Want someone to make sense of all the DVD writable/rewritable standards and give you some decent advice about buying one? Look here. Want honest and specific advice about the latest motherboards and chipsets from both sides of the Pacific? Look here. Want troubleshooting help? There’s even more of it than in the first edition.
Want to put together your own PC? The Thompsons walk you through it in extraordinary detail (how to make sure your system’s multiple fans are working together, not at cross-purposes; why you should only use three screws instead of four if you’re mounting a drive in a cheap case; which add-on cards generate the most heat and should be given the most breathing room).
In the first edition, the authors ended most chapters with an “Our Picks” section offering specific hardware recommendations. But hardware changes so fast that they’ve revamped these sections to be a bit more general and moved the specific advice to the book’s companion web site. Don’t worry: The book’s as opinionated as ever, and when the Thompsons don’t like something (Sound Blaster Live! PCI cards, generic memory), believe us, they say so. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.