The Perfect PC Is the One You Build Yourself.
Here’s a book on building a few types of computers from scratch.
The first chapter is on the fundamentals. This covers what to know before starting- the tools to have, basic hardware knowledge, etc. Here they include the general layout of modern motherboards, some of the supplies you should have on hand like (screwdrivers, flashlight, etc.) and some good safely tips (for both you and your expensive newly-purchased parts).
The next chapter then goes more into depth on choosing components, tips on buying and what to look for beyond the price. Who is this book written for? I’d say if you’re already comfortable opening up your PC and installing, say, a hard-drive, you’re probably ready to follow along.
Each chapter afterwards follows a similar format: an introduction, determining what the builder wants to do with the system, what kind of hardware is needed to meet those requirements, and the components to be used. Assembly instructions then follow this. Basically, by the time you’re done a chapter, you’ve learned a bit more about the industry, this is not a book of doing this, plug this is- instead, this is “this is what we’re going to do, and this is why, and this is how.” Incidentally, that a lot more than can be said for a course on computer hardware I took at an, otherwise excellent, city college a few years back.
Reading through, I found there was just a wealth of knowledge that you’d probably figure out on your own after making a few, possibly costly, mistakes. The fundamentals chapter covers all kinds of basics, including determining quality parts (bad website probably means terrible parts), checking reviews, AGP vs PCIe and some useful, practical tips- like putting together a minimal system before powering-up for the first time- if something shorts-out, you haven’t destroyed all your expensive parts. Good practical advice. The amount of background information is excellent- you know these guys have been around for a while.
Several times the important warning (grounding, static, thermal compound) are repeated in each chapter, just in case, the reader skipped straight to their choice system. For each system, the significant parts to be used are explained, along with the reasons for the choice, as well as possible alternates. Just before building starts, there is a Bill of Materials presented- ideal for checking off. The assemble section is written and is broken up by pictures and various advice and warning blocks as needed.
Overall, the book’s layout is clean, with tips and other information kept in the side columns. There’s plenty of colour photos illustrating what that part looks like you’re trying to attach the cable to looks like. Reading through, you can’t help but feel that that the writers know what they are talking about; whether it’s the anecdotes about how some standard came to be or a small tip that makes perfect sense when you think about it. Anyone contemplating building their next PC themselves should take a look through this one.