This book was presented to me by my sister in the hope that I would build her such a system. After reading it, I came to the conclusion that not only would I not build such a system, but that no knowledgeable person would either. I can't conceive of any reason behind any of the choices he makes other than perhaps get some freebie hardware from the vendors he plugs in this book.
"Pessimal" seems a strong word, but no other seems appropriate. Where does one start addressing his bad choices?
Firstly, a PC does not make a very good stereo or home theater system, because of the overhead of a general purpose operating system and the poor optimization of the display and D/A technology vis-a-vis home theater or high-end audio components for their purposes. Yes, you can do all the things he speaks of, but you can't do them as well. (Although good audio gear is expensive, my speakers were made in 1978 and my power amplifiers originally constructed in 1959 and reworked by myself in the late 1980s. PC components, by contrast, have an economic half-life of around nine months to a year.)
When that operating system is Microsoft Windows, you have the added problem of the extremely huge overhead, the lack of optimization inherent in general purpose computer software, and the simple fact that Windows, of any variant, is in simple computer science parameters mediocre-to-poor software. Because of the large numbers of awkward choices Windows' designers made for 'backwards compatibility' and to implement a big feature set in a minimum amount of time, from a large pool of programmers, Windows is just not suited very well to the task. A dedicated product such as QNX or the now-defunct BeOS would have drastically improved matters, but a Linux or FreeBSD distribution specifically designed for the task would have been a far better choice and could have been included with the book at very little additional cost. The author's one-sentence dismissal of Linux consists of utter, provable nonsense.
Computer speakers and sound systems are generally inferior not only to high-end stereo components, but even inexpensive hobbyist home recording gear. I would strongly look at inexpensive Mackie, Yamaha, or similar powered (active) monitor speakers before I would look at most anything specifically marketed to the computer segment. I would also keep in mind that even low-end pro audio users select sound cards substantially more expensive than the ones offered to consumer buyers, and for good reason.
Finally, I very definitely would not use MaxBlast or any other proprietary program to format my HDD if I were running Windows (or any other OS). When you first install a drive, write zeroes to it using a program such as the ones offered by most drive vendors, then partition and format the drive from the installation CD of whichever OS you choose to run. Proprietary programs solve problems such as using larger drives in machines built before their size was supported, or running multiple OSes, but in a new clean instll these are not concerns-or if they are you need new hardware. Windows in particular likes its own partition and formatting routines.