Top positive review
BIG on detail, hard on the pocket
on 2 May 2005
This is a gem of a book by an author that really has a passion for hardware.
This book is detailed and verbose, the latest edition (released 2004) brings things up-to-date, although it's been a big year for hardware and things have moved on a bit - that's always a problem with this kind of book though.
Make sure you have a flick through at your local bookstore before parting with your hard-earned cash, because the style may not be to everyone's taste and it is a fairly big buy. Don't let the informality put you off though, as the book is absolutely full of detail, and a heavier style could make it an excruciatingly difficult read.
Sometimes you may want a simple, to-the-point summary of some of the topics covered, but you won't find them in this book. Sadly there's no pocket version, and the CD-ROM is very poor. Although I generally dislike CDs packed with multimedia HOWTOs and prefer to see the book reproduced electonically in an indexed and searchable PDF form, with hyperlinked references. This CD has neither, and as a previous reviewer stated, the material contained on the CD is not indexed - which renders it almost useless. A useful CD would allow you to create a backup copy on a credit card sized CD or USB pen drive and have a portable version of the book. They really missed out in this respect, which is really inexcusible. However, you can access the book on his website (the password is contained within the pages of the book), which is a nice touch.
If you buy one book for general computer hardware, make it this one. However, if you're solely looking for a PC Hardware & Maintenance based book try Scott Meuller's "Upgrading and Repairing PCs", some of the topics overlap, Meuller's clarity is exemplory and the DVD included has lots of AV tutorials, demos and - of course - a full PDF of the book.