Synopses & Reviews
PC Hardware in a Nutshell is the practical guide to buying, building, upgrading, and repairing Intel-based PCs. A longtime favorite among PC users, the third edition of the book now contains useful information for people running either Windows or Linux operating systems. Written for novices and seasoned professionals alike, the book is packed with useful and unbiased information, including how-to advice for specific components, ample reference material, and a comprehensive case study on building a PC.In addition to coverage of the fundamentals and general tips about working on PCs, the book includes chapters focusing on motherboards, processors, memory, floppies, hard drives, optical drives, tape devices, video devices, input devices, audio components, communications, power supplies, and maintenance. Special emphasis is given to upgrading and troubleshooting existing equipment so you can get the most from your existing investments.This new edition is expanded to include:
PC Hardware in a Nutshell
- Detailed information about the latest motherboards and chipsets from AMD, Intel, SiS, and VIA
- Extensive coverage of the Pentium 4 and the latest AMD processors, including the Athlon XP/MP
- Full details about new hard drive standards, including the latest SCSI standards, ATA/133, Serial ATA, and the new 48-bit "Big Drive" ATA interface
- Extended coverage of DVD drives, including DVD-RAM, DVD-R/RW, and DVD+R/RW
- Details about Flat Panel Displays, including how to choose one (and why you might not want to)
- New chapters on serial communications, parallel communications, and USB communications (including USB 2.0)
- Enhanced troubleshooting coverage
, 3rd Edition provides independent, useful and practical information in a no-nonsense manner with specific recommendations on components. Based on real-world testing over time, it will help you make intelligent, informed decisions about buying, building, upgrading, and repairing PCs in a cost effective manner that will help you maximize new or existing computer hardware systems. It's loaded with real-world advice presented in a concise style that clearly delivers just the information you want, without your having to hunt for it.
A longtime favorite among PC users, the third edition of the book now contains useful information for people running either Windows or Linux operating systems. Written for novices and seasoned professionals alike, the book is packed with useful and unbiased information, including how-to advice for specific components, ample reference material, and a comprehensive case study on building a PC.In addition to coverage of the fundamentals and general tips about working on PCs, the book includes chapters focusing on motherboards, processors, memory, floppies, hard drives, optical drives, tape devices, video devices, input devices, audio components, communications, power supplies, and maintenance. Special emphasis is given to upgrading and troubleshooting existing equipment so you can get the most from your existing investments.
About the Author
Robert Bruce Thompson is a coauthor of Building the Perfect PC, Astronomy Hacks, and the Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders. Thompson built his first computer in 1976 from discrete chips. It had 256 bytes of memory, used toggle switches and LEDs for I/O, ran at less than 1MHz, and had no operating system. Since then, he has bought, built, upgraded, and repaired hundreds of PCs for himself, employers, customers, friends, and clients. Thompson reads mysteries and nonfiction for relaxation, but only on cloudy nights. He spends most clear, moonless nights outdoors with his 10-inch Dobsonian reflector telescope, hunting down faint fuzzies, and is currently designing a larger truss-tube Dobsonian (computerized, of course) that he plans to build.
Barbara Fritchman Thompson is a coauthor of Building the Perfect PC, PC Hardware Buyer's Guide, Astronomy Hacks, and PC Hardware in a Nutshell. Barbara worked for 20 years as a librarian before starting her own home-based consulting practice, Research Solutions, and is also a researcher for the law firm Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge, & Rice, PLLC. During her leisure hours, Barbara reads, works out, plays golf, and, like Robert, is an avid amateur astronomer.
Table of Contents
Dedication; Foreword; Preface; Audience; Organization; Conventions; We'd Like to Hear from You; Acknowledgments; Chapter 1: Fundamentals; 1.1 PCs Defined; 1.2 PC Components and Technologies; 1.3 System Resources; 1.4 Building or Buying a PC; 1.5 Upgrading a PC; 1.6 Smart Buying Practices; 1.7 Things to Do with Old PCs; Chapter 2: Working on PCs; 2.1 Rules to Upgrade By; 2.2 Tools; 2.3 General Procedures; Chapter 3: Motherboards; 3.1 Motherboard Characteristics; 3.2 Choosing a Motherboard; 3.3 Installing a Motherboard; 3.4 Upgrading the System BIOS; 3.5 Our Picks; Chapter 4: Processors; 4.1 Processor Design; 4.2 Intel Processors; 4.3 AMD Processors; 4.4 Choosing a Processor; 4.5 Forthcoming AMD and Intel Processors; 4.6 Installing a Processor; 4.7 Our Picks; Chapter 5: Memory; 5.1 Understanding Memory; 5.2 Memory Access Methods; 5.3 CAS Latency; 5.4 Memory Packaging; 5.5 How Much Memory Is Enough?; 5.6 Memory Selection Guidelines; 5.7 Installing Memory; 5.8 Troubleshooting Memory Installation and Operation; 5.9 Our Picks; Chapter 6: Floppy Disk Drives; 6.1 Diskette Types and Formats; 6.2 Drive Types; 6.3 FDD Interface and Cabling; 6.4 Installing an FDD; 6.5 Working with FDDs; 6.6 Working with Obsolete Diskette Formats; 6.7 Salvaging Diskette Data; 6.8 Our Picks; Chapter 7: High-Capacity Floppy Disk Drives; 7.1 High-Capacity FDD Types; 7.2 Choosing a High-Capacity FDD; 7.3 Using an ATAPI Zip or SuperDisk Drive as the Boot Device; 7.4 Drive Letter Assignment Problems; 7.5 Our Picks; Chapter 8: Removable Hard Disk Drives; 8.1 Uses for Removable and External Hard Disk Drives; 8.2 Cartridge-Based Removable Hard Disk Drives; 8.3 Frame/Carrier-Based Removable Hard Disk Drives; 8.4 Our Picks; Chapter 9: Tape Drives; 9.1 Tape Technologies; 9.2 Choosing a Tape Drive; 9.3 Installing and Configuring a Tape Drive; 9.4 Care and Feeding of a Tape Drive; 9.5 Troubleshooting Tape Drive Problems; 9.6 The Dirty Little Secret of Long Filenames; 9.7 Developing a Backup Strategy; 9.8 Our Picks; Chapter 10: CD-ROM Drives; 10.1 Compact Disc Fundamentals; 10.2 CD-ROM Drive Performance; 10.3 Choosing a CD-ROM Drive; 10.4 Installing and Configuring a CD-ROM Drive; 10.5 Cleaning a CD-ROM Drive; 10.6 Our Picks; Chapter 11: CD Writers; 11.1 CD Writers and Media; 11.2 Writable CD Formats; 11.3 CD Recording Methods; 11.4 Buffer Underrun Protection; 11.5 Choosing a CD Writer; 11.6 CD Writer Software; 11.7 Installing and Configuring a CD Writer; 11.8 Updating CD Writer Firmware; 11.9 Media Issues; 11.10 Burning CDs; 11.11 Special Problems and Applications; 11.12 Writable CD Troubleshooting; 11.13 Additional CD-R(W) Source Material; 11.14 Our Picks; Chapter 12: DVD Drives; 12.1 DVD-ROM; 12.2 DVD Writable and Rewritable; 12.3 Installing and Configuring a DVD Drive; 12.4 Troubleshooting DVD Problems; 12.5 Our Picks; Chapter 13: Hard Disk Interfaces; 13.1 IDE; 13.2 Serial ATA; 13.3 SCSI; 13.4 ATA Versus SCSI; 13.5 Our Picks; Chapter 14: Hard Disk Drives; 14.1 How Hard Disks Work; 14.2 Choosing a Hard Disk; 14.3 Installing a PATA (Standard ATA) Hard Disk; 14.4 Installing an SATA Hard Disk; 14.5 Installing a SCSI Hard Disk; 14.6 Preparing a Hard Disk for Use; 14.7 Our Picks; Chapter 15: Video Adapters; 15.1 Video Adapter Characteristics; 15.2 Choosing a Video Adapter; 15.3 Installing a Video Adapter; 15.4 Configuring Video Under Windows 98/Me/2000/XP; 15.5 Configuring Video under Linux; 15.6 Troubleshooting Video Adapter Problems; 15.7 Our Picks; Chapter 16: Displays; 16.1 CRT Monitors; 16.2 Flat-Panel Displays; 16.3 Installing and Configuring a Display; 16.4 Troubleshooting Display Problems; 16.5 Our Picks; Chapter 17: Sound Adapters; 17.1 PC Audio Types; 17.2 MIDI Synthesis Methods; 17.3 Downloadable Sounds; 17.4 Sound Card Components; 17.5 Sound Card Characteristics; 17.6 Choosing a Sound Card; 17.7 Installing a Sound Card; 17.8 Configuring a Sound Card Under Windows 95/98/2000/XP; 17.9 Configuring a Sound Card Under Linux; 17.10 Troubleshooting Sound Card Problems; 17.11 Our Picks; Chapter 18: Speakers and Headphones; 18.1 Speaker and Headphone Characteristics; 18.2 Choosing Speakers and Headphones; 18.3 Our Picks; Chapter 19: Keyboards; 19.1 Keyboard Switch Types; 19.2 Keyboard Styles; 19.3 Keyboard Interfaces; 19.4 Choosing a Keyboard; 19.5 Configuring a Keyboard; 19.6 Cleaning a Keyboard; 19.7 Troubleshooting and Repairing Keyboards; 19.8 Our Picks; Chapter 20: Mice and Trackballs; 20.1 Mice Versus Trackballs; 20.2 Mouse Characteristics; 20.3 Choosing a Mouse; 20.4 Configuring a Mouse or Trackball; 20.5 Cleaning a Mouse; 20.6 Troubleshooting a Mouse; 20.7 Our Picks; Chapter 21: Game Controllers; 21.1 Game Controller Characteristics; 21.2 Gameport Interface; 21.3 Choosing a Game Controller; 21.4 Installing a Game Controller; 21.5 Troubleshooting Game Controllers; 21.6 Our Picks; Chapter 22: Serial Communications; 22.1 Serial Communications Overview; 22.2 Serial Ports; 22.3 Serial Cables; 22.4 Installing and Configuring Serial Port Hardware; 22.5 Troubleshooting Serial Port Problems; 22.6 Our Picks; Chapter 23: Parallel Communications; 23.1 Mapping Parallel Ports to LPTs; 23.2 Our Picks; Chapter 24: USB Communications; 24.1 USB Characteristics; 24.2 USB Host Controller Interfaces; 24.3 Configuring USB; 24.4 Troubleshooting USB; 24.5 Our Picks; Chapter 25: Cases; 25.1 Case Characteristics; 25.2 Choosing a Case; 25.3 Our Picks; Chapter 26: Power Supplies; 26.1 Power Supply Characteristics; 26.2 Volts, Amps, Watts, and Regulation; 26.3 Power Connectors; 26.4 Choosing a Power Supply; 26.5 Installing a Power Supply; 26.6 Troubleshooting Power Supplies; 26.7 Our Picks; Chapter 27: Backup Power Supplies; 27.1 What BPSs Protect Against; 27.2 BPS Types; 27.3 BPS Characteristics; 27.4 Choosing a BPS; 27.5 Our Picks; Chapter 28: Building a PC; 28.1 Purchasing Components; 28.2 Building the System; Colophon;