February 28, 2005
"PC Hardware Buyer's Guide": Choose the Perfect Components for your Perfect PC
Sebastopol, CA--It's both a blessing and a curse: there have never been
more choices in PC systems, and never more confusion surrounding them.
Whatever you use your PC for, there are likely components specifically
designed to do what you do exceptionally well. And although it's pretty
easy to buy a cookie-cutter PC, loaded with whatever Dell or HP decided
will appeal to the widest array of people, buying "off-the-rack" won't get
you the features that matter most to you--or the best price. Features
that avid gamers deem "essential" may be meaningless to a frequently
traveling businessperson or a family who needs a good homework machine.
Increasingly, even non-geeks are deciding to build their own personal
computer system, both to save money and to tailor their system to their
Admittedly, it's a challenge. Weeding through information on scores of
components produced by dozens of different manufacturers, each with unique
strengths and compatibilities, can be overwhelming. Finding a single
source of unbiased information has often seemed impossibly elusive to
today's PC shoppers.
"When you build a system from scratch, you get to chose every component,"
says Robert Bruce Thompson, co-author of a the new book, PC Hardware
Buyer's Guide (O'Reilly $12.95 US.) "That means you can get exactly the
functions and features that you want, and at the best price. It also means
that you have to sort through dozens of competing products for each
component, and separate the marketing hype from the reality. We've done
all that research for you. PC Hardware Buyer's Guide distills what we've
learned in testing and using hundreds of products over many years."
Carefully researched and written, PC Hardware Buyer's Guide is packed
with an enormous amount of unbiased information intended for anyone who
wants to compile the perfect machine for their needs and budget. Veteran
PC hardware authors Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson
(authors of PC Hardware in a Nutshell and Building the Perfect PC) say
that building your own PC is the best way to get the most PC for your money.
In their new book, they provide tips for ensuring that your components are
compatible, determining what products have the best performance, and
hitting the sweet spot of price and performance. The book starts with
providing a piece-by-piece overview of all the components that comprise a
standard desktop computer. Then the authors show how to choose the right
parts for you, based on your particular profile (gamer, mainstream user,
etc.). Their recommendations are based on which parts are:
Compatible with each other
Regarded as the best performing
Closest in line with your budget
For quick-lookup purposes, the PC Hardware Buyer's Guide includes a
simple reference chart with recommended brands and models. Just refer to
the chart and the guesswork is gone--it includes recommendations for
cases, power supplies, CPUs, motherboards, memory, disk drives, graphics
cards, audio components, and more. The authors even offer shopping tips.
For example, "When buying locally, open the box from the bottom. If you
need to return a non-defective product, it makes it easier to repackage
the product with the manufacturer's seals intact, which can help avoid
"We quickly found out why there was so much interesting information, but
relatively little useful information in most PC hardware books," says
co-author Barbara Fritchman Thompson. "Interesting is quick and easy to
write. Useful is slow and hard, because you actually have to do all the
stuff you've written about."
The authors achieved ultimate usefulness in the new PC Hardware
PC Hardware Buyer's Guide
Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson
ISBN: 0-596-00938-0, 127 pages, $12.95 US, $18.95 CA
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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