I've always purchased my computers prebuilt and loaded with the operating system. I have the books that would likely guide me through the process of building my own, but it still seems a bit daunting when you're looking at 600 pages of (in my mind) things that can go wrong. Michael F. Quarles has a simplified guide to building your own PC with the book Building A PC For Beginners. This would appeal to the first-timer who isn't up on all the minutia on motherboards and bus speeds (nor wants to be).
Contents: Selecting Parts (CPUs - Intel & AMD, Motherboards, Hard Drives, CD/DVDs, Floppies, 3 Cards, Case), Getting Started, Installing the CPU, Heatsink, & Fan; Installing RAM; Installing the Motherboard; Installing the Floppy; Installing the Hard Drive; Installing the CD/DVD; Power for the Motherboard; Installing the Case Fan; Front USB Wires; The CD/DVD Audio Wire; Installing the Graphics Card; Installing the Modem; Tying Up Cables; First Boot; Troubleshooting; Installing Windows XP; Troubleshooting
This is a self-published book that has lots of photographs of the installation process, along with a straight-forward description of how to choose and install the devices that make up your new computer. There's a careful balance between covering the necessary information without inundating the beginner with everything that can possibly be mentioned. As such, a beginner can focus on the essentials. As I was reading through the book, I could actually see myself using this to successfully manage my first build. Hardcore geeks would likely want more information than what's contained here, but first-timers would find it understandable. This could also be used if you're repairing your PC and want to understand a bit more about the inside of your computer before you start plugging things in. For instance, there was enough information about power supplies in here in order for me to make an informed decision on replacing one in my desktop machine.
The book isn't perfect, and could have done with some additional editing for spelling and grammar. That's not uncommon on self-published efforts. But overall, the author accomplishes what he sets out to do, and this is a good place to start for building your own PC for the first time.
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