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Build It. Fix It. Own It: A Beginner's Guide to Building and Upgrading a PC Paperback – May 19 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Que Publishing; 1 edition (May 19 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789738279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789738271
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 3.1 x 23 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 907 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #634,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover


A Beginner's Guide to Building and Upgrading a PC


Build It. Fix It. Own the ultimate beginner's guide to building and fixing your own PC. With a friendly, knowledgeable tone, this book shows the beginning PC builder everything he or she needs to know to build a computer or upgrade an existing one.

We step you through the parts that lurk inside a PC, from the motherboard and power supply to the CPU, memory, hard drive, video card, sound card, and networking hardware. In each case, you will learn how the hardware works, what it does, what types of hardware are available, and what to look for when buying the hardware.

Then we walk you step-by-step though a series of PC building projects. We show you how to build five different types of PC: a basic business PC, a home theater PC, a high-performance PC, a killer gaming PC, and a budget PC. And if building a new PC from scratch isn't in your budget, we show you how to resurrect  an old PC by swapping out a few key components.

When you have your PC built and running, we show you how to set up a wireless network and the BIOS and maintain your new rig.


Build It. Fix It. Own the ultimate PC builder's guide, even if you've never ventured inside a PC case before!


Author Bio

Paul McFedriesis one of the industry's most well known and respected technical writers and is a passionate computer tinkerer. He is the author of more than 70 computer books that have sold more than three million copies worldwide. His recent titles include the Sams Publishing booksWindows Vista UnleashedandWindows Home Server Unleashedand the Que Publishing booksNetworking with Microsoft Windows Vista,Formulas and Functions with Microsoft Excel 2007,Tricks of the Microsoft Office 2007 Gurus, andMicrosoft Access 2007 Forms, Reports, and Queries. Paul also is the proprietor of Word Spy (, a website devoted to tracking new words and phrases as they enter the English language.


Category     Hardware

Covers         PC Hardware

User Level    Beginner—Intermediate

About the Author

Paul McFedriesis a full-time technical writer and passionate computer tinkerer. He is the author of more than 70 computer books that have sold more than three million copies worldwide. His recent titles include the Sams Publishing books Windows Vista Unleashed and Windows Home Server Unleashed and the Que Publishing books Networking with Windows Vista; Formulas and Functions with Microsoft Excel 2007; Tricks of the Microsoft Office 2007 Gurus; and Microsoft Access 2007 Forms, Reports, and Queries. Paul also is the proprietor of Word Spy (, a website devoted to tracking new words and phrases as they enter the English language.

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Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9ae96d50) out of 5 stars 33 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b02081c) out of 5 stars Save yourself 50% on your next desktop Dec 27 2008
By P. William Bane - Published on
Format: Paperback
If a 63 year old retiree can do, so can you... with this book.

Building your own desktop is only slightly more difficult than lego blocks. If you read this book, you will see that the biggest problem you will have is your own greed for speed when you realize you can do it. While this book does not cover Intel's new I7, this book has chapters on numerous "builds" that convey how the building processes are 95% identical, so you can go on to a build using the (extraordinary!) I7 with confidence.

Numerous no-name computer assembler online sites specify their exact components: comparisons using (the essential) Newegg's prices show 50% margins -- all this $$ is yours if you have patience, can do lego blocks, and read this book and "Build your own desktop" blogs carefully. Trying to figure out Microsoft Word's formatting options is 10 times more difficult. Honest.

I have purchased 20+ Dell's and HP's over the years for myself and my children, and can say that the PC companies' product designs and especially their so-called "service" fail miserably to justify their 75% margins, and things are getting worse.

"Build a PC" by Scott Mueller is good as a second book (there are no others that are remotely up to date).

For what it is worth, I do not know either author, nor have I ever corresponded with either.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b020870) out of 5 stars Very good book July 22 2008
By RunninDiggler - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was very good, though not the best PC Building book I've read. I chose this one because it was published recently (2008) and I wanted something that was up-to-date on current technology. The book did not disappoint in that area. Overall, the book did a nice job walking you through each component of a PC and giving you advice on how to select the right components. This book will definitely be of use to both beginner and experienced PC builders. With no prior knowledge, you will be able to build a great computer by following the advice in this book. My only complaint is that I occasionally still had questions about certain components after reading the section on those component. However, I do not feel like this significantly detracted from the usefulness of the book.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b020b4c) out of 5 stars All You Need in One Package Dec 14 2008
By T. Hooper - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I had an old computer that was pushing the limits of what it could do in order to keep up with the latest software. When I went to the store, I didn't really have any idea what all of the numbers and letters meant on all of the parts. I was totally lost! After reading this book, I could walk into the computer store with confidence and ask specifically for the parts that I needed to make my upgrade. Since I was able to do that, I didn't feel so behind the technology curve after all. The money I paid for this book was definitely well spent.

The first 40% of the book covers the parts and tools necessary for building or repairing your own computer. This was the part that I found most useful as it covers the specs of the parts. This saved me from buying parts that would not be compatible with my older computer. The next 40% covers building computers. This is broken down into chapters for different types of computers, so you'll get plans and instructions for building anything from a budget computer to a high-performance gaming computer. The last 20% covers how to repair and maintain a computer.

If you're thinking of building your own computer or ugrading an older one, this book has everything in one package. The only downside is that if you just want to upgrade a computer, you won't be able to use the 40% that covers building computers. However, it might just inspire you to build your own someday.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b020a44) out of 5 stars This book is great, and very accessible. Feb. 1 2009
By Jacob E. Koch - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I made the mistake about 5 years ago of buying Anand Lal Shimpi's book about building your own computer. It was garbage for me because it was a bunch of nonsense computer history and technobabble. I built a computer after reading it, but it was pretty ho-hum and I didn't have much of a clue what I was doing. In fact, I didn't even understand that the PSU (power supply) was a separate component after reading the book!

Build It, Fix It, Own It was the perfect book for me. I'm a technology guy, but I don't give a rat's behind about a lengthy discussion on Front Side Bus and HyperThreading. I want the gist of what makes up a computer, and succinct explanations for how to buy and put one together. This book does that, and even mocks the ridiculous names given to computer parts (while still explaining them in simple terms).

If you want to build a computer, but don't want an encyclopedia of technobabble and computer history, this is your book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b020c54) out of 5 stars Out of Date Aug. 18 2009
By Mom in West Chester - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is thorough but as a novice trying to order parts and build a computer several major parts are now not available and the author does not provide much advice for how to figure out options that are available. This has turned out to be a lot more complicated than advertised. All of the components must work together and it quickly becomes a nightmare to try and figure out what goes with what. Would be nice to have some type of website you can visit to get updated recommendations as the components go out of stock, which is quickly!