Book Review - Build the Ultimate Custom PC by Adrian and Kathie Kingsley-Hughes
After reading Build the Ultimate Custom PC by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes and Kathie Kingsley-Hughes, I'm pretty convinced that my next desktop PC will be built by me instead of purchased at a store. I think I could actually do this...
Part 1 - Choosing Components for Your PC: Staying Safe; Choosing the Tools You Need; Choosing a Suitable Case and Power Supply; Choosing a CPU and Motherboard; Choosing the Right RAM; Choosing Hard Drives and Floppy Drives; Choosing CD/DVD Drives; Choosing Video Adaptors and Monitors; Choosing Sound Capability; A Tour of Cables and Fittings; Checking and Testing Components
Part 2 - Building Your PC: Top 10 Things You Don't Want to Forget before You Begin the Build!; Assembling the Case and Fitting the PSU; Fitting the Basic Parts; Adding Storage
Part 3 - Starting and Testing Your PC: Fire Up and Burn In; Final Tweaks and Installing Windows XP; Check and Test, Check and Test Again!; Everything You Need to Know about Warranties and Beyond
Part 4 - Appendices: Useful Websites; Checklist; Hardware Manufacturers; Glossary
The authors work from the assumption that you've never done this before (which I haven't) and that you will need guidance from choosing the parts clear through the assembly and start-up. They do a very nice job in covering all the basic components, what things need to be known about them (specs, details, etc.), and what you'll need to look for in terms of making good choices based on your requirements. This would even be good material if you're looking to upgrade something (like a CD unit) and you need to better understand what to look for. Once you have all your parts together, they show you how to assemble it all into a working computer, along with things you must know during the assembly process, like how to diffuse static electricity. You don't want a simple spark to fry your expensive CPU, do you? I was impressed with their coverage of testing tips, too. My biggest fear (short of having left-over parts) is pushing the power button and having nothing happen. With the testing steps shown here, you should be able to quickly get past that point should it occur. Honestly, seeing the quality of the information presented, I'd say there's a very good chance that you won't have that happen unless you have a faulty part to begin with...
Bottom line, this is a book I'd definitely recommend to a first-time computer builder who wants the experience of "rolling their own". As much as it surprises me to say it, I think I might just be that person for the next upgrade...