Most helpful positive review
The Ultimate Hardware Book
on January 6, 2003
Some of the best advice I've ever had about computer books came from a pair of friends who happened to be married to each other. The husband told me, "If you're looking for a reference manual, always buy the smallest one on the market so that you'll carry it around with you." The wife said "Always buy the biggest, fattest book on the market because it has all the answers." In this case, the wife happened to be right- -with its 1400 pages and 2 CDs, this book is certainly the biggest, fattest PC hardware book that I've seen on the market. It also contains the clearest writing and most useful information that I've seen for books of its type. This book will tell you how to upgrade your hard drive, choose a new video card, protect your computer from lightning strikes, and a lot of other important facts besides. But it's too big and bulky to make it easy to carry around.
The book is written at a level that just about anyone can understand. If you are comfortable plugging in the wires in the back of your computer and you can tell one end of a screwdriver from another, you should be able to tackle just about any hardware installation or upgrade job using this book. It's not just for beginners, however; even experienced technicians will find useful information in the book. The book is not written specifically for the A+ Certification exams, but it covers the core hardware concepts for the exams. A lab manual is also available for the book. The lab manual contains study questions as well as detailed instructions for common tasks.
Almost every chapter of the book starts with a "QuickSteps" section that summarizes what you need to do to complete common hardware tasks. The remainder of the chapter explains how the piece of hardware works, a little about its history, and provides more detailed installation information. The first of the 2 accompanying CD-ROMs contains video clips that demonstrate some common tasks. The other CD-ROM contains some useful utility programs and some A+ review materials (in a very clunky interface- -not very well done compared to others on the market) as well as some additional chapters and appendices. I had trouble running the video clips in the DVD-CD drive of my new IBM laptop running Windows 2000. However, they seem to run fine in the CD drive of my old IBM laptop.