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REVIEW: "Upgrading and Repairing PCs", Scott Mueller

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKUPRPPC.RVW 20011129 Upgrading and Repairing PCs , Scott Mueller, 2002, 0-7897-2542-8, U$59.99/C$89.95/UK#43.99 %A Scott Mueller
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 25, 2002
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      BKUPRPPC.RVW 20011129

      "Upgrading and Repairing PCs", Scott Mueller, 2002, 0-7897-2542-8,
      U$59.99/C$89.95/UK#43.99
      %A Scott Mueller scottmueller@...
      %C 201 W. 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46290
      %D 1999
      %G 0-7897-2542-8
      %I Macmillan Computer Publishing (MCP)
      %O U$59.99/C$89.95/UK#43.99 800-858-7674 317-581-3743 info@...
      %P 1556 p. + CD-ROM
      %T "Upgrading and Repairing PCs, Thirteenth Edition"

      There are all kinds of computer help, repair, maintenance,
      troubleshooting, and upgrading books on the market. A great many try
      to give you a quick overview of what you need to know. With the
      personal computer market expanding its options on a pretty much daily
      basis, though, generally what you need is more in the line of an
      encyclopedia. *Your* particular problem tends to be the one left out.
      This book, however, leaves very little out.

      Chapter one is a short history of the PC since the first IBM PC in
      1981, or actually slightly before. The defining characteristics, and
      components, of a PC are given in chapter two, including a very
      realistic overview of the market and major players. Microprocessor
      information is given in chapter three. However, this chapter is
      unlike any I have ever seen in another repair or troubleshooting book.
      There are tables and lists of detailed processor specifications,
      including the most important for any upgrader--the socket sizes and
      specifications. The chapter proceeds through conceptual material
      first and then in turn through all kinds of individual processors, so
      at first run it can be a bit confusing. The motherboard is covered in
      chapter four, with form factors, chipsets, interface connectors, and
      bus sockets. In this edition, the BIOS gets space of its own in
      chapter five. The various types and functions of memory, with
      attention to practical as well as theoretical details, are described
      in chapter six.

      Chapters seven and eight look in detail at the IDE (Integrated Drive
      electronics) and SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) interfaces.
      General principles of magnetic storage are given in chapter nine, with
      specifics of hard and floppy disks, removable storage, and optical
      drives in ten to thirteen, successively. Drive installation is
      covered in chapter fourteen.

      Display hardware is outlined in chapter fifteen, with information on
      both monitors and adapters. Audio hardware is a new addition in
      chapter sixteen. Chapter seventeen provides useful specifics on I/O
      ports, dealing with serial and parallel ports, port replacement
      technologies, and storage interfaces. Keyboards and mice are covered
      in significant detail in chapter eighteen. Chapter nineteen, entitled
      "Internet Connectivity," looks at a broad range of communications
      hardware. It provides a good deal of information, and has improved
      substantially over past editions. Local area networks, in chapter
      twenty, fare well. Chapter twenty one gets into the area that
      possibly causes the most trouble, and therefore has the greatest
      potential for usefulness, in PC hardware: power supplies, the NVRAM
      (better known, if slightly inaccurately, as CMOS) battery, and even
      UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) systems. There are some
      interesting points about portable computers in chapter twenty two.

      Chapter twenty three looks at building a system, and, while there is
      some duplication of material covered in earlier chapters, there is a
      good deal of new content as well. Diagnostics, testing, and
      maintenance provides a lot of very practical advice, although the
      sequence of topics in chapter twenty four can be jumpy at times.
      (Given the scope of the rest of the book, the dismissal of viruses in
      a single paragraph is disappointing: and unfortunately consistent with
      what I have seen in all too many computer retail and repair shops.)
      File systems and data recovery are covered well in chapter twenty
      five. The appendices in this edition are rather curtailed. However,
      the CD-ROM contains full versions of the sixth, eighth, tenth,
      eleventh, and twelfth editions, so missing chapters, such as those on
      printers and software troubleshooting, can still be found.

      I can say with assurance that none of the books on upgrading or repair
      of personal computers has had the scope of this one. This is not
      simply due to the size, although that certainly helps. The material
      is readable and clear, and there is very little fluff. Certainly some
      sections are not quite up to the overall standard; in particular, more
      recent technologies tend to have hastily assembled entries; but for
      the central unit itself, the book is without peer. I can readily
      agree with the rather effusive book jacket comments: they are not, as
      I first thought, mere hype. For anyone involved in computer
      maintenance and repair, be it in a retail or technical support role,
      this reference has immense value. And for serious hobbyist users, it
      can provide a great deal of interest, as well as definite help when
      you need it.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998, 1999, 2001 BKUPRPPC.RVW 20011129


      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      Lucien, you got some 'splainin' to do! - Double Exposure
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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