The Barnes & Noble Review
Mark Minasi's legendary guide to PC hardware -- based on his $800 live seminars -- has just been thoroughly updated for the latest gear: USB, DSL, cable modems, video capture hardware, MP3, Athlon processors, and lots more.
Of course, the friendly, expert tone remains. It's obvious from the get-go that Minasi knows his stuff -- and knows how to share it. The book is full of inside tips and anecdotes (How can you make sure it's not a software or virus problem before you crack the hood? Why might a certain brand of printer become less reliable when the seasons change?).
This 1,500-page book now also includes QuickStep sections that walk you through the most widely-performed upgrades at double-speed. Since there's no substitute for seeing it, you also get a CD-ROM with over an hour of digital movies that walk you through upgrading processors, motherboards, power supplies, memory, DVD drives, hard disks, and audio cards. If you have any plans for A+ certification, a second CD-ROM contains nearly 400 practice questions for both the CompTIA's core and Windows/DOS exams.
If we have any gripe, it's that the editors have been a little slow to retire some of the book's older coverage -- but hey, a lot of old PCs are still chugging along, and you just might have one of them. (Bill Camarda)
Bill Camarda is a consultant and writer with nearly 20 years' experience in helping technology companies deploy and market advanced software, computing, and networking products and services. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.
On the cover of this book, a headline reads "Get valuable information worth more than $800 for the price of this book." I could easily argue that this book might save someone the cost of a new computer. In any case, Minasi's handbook to personal computers fills 22 chapters and three appendixes with solutions to problems with virtually everything under the PC sun. Like any good repair book, it starts off by telling you the kinds of tools you'll need and explains how to open your computer and study its innards. Following these opening chapters, there's help on preventive maintenance and troubleshooting. If none of these ideas and suggestions work, the last two chapters describe how to buy a new system and how to look for a multimedia system. This book contains lots of excellent information of utility to almost anyone using a personal computer.