Building the Perfect PC by Robert Bruce Thompson & Barbara Fitchman Thompson

Book review.

Publisher: O'Reilly

ISBN: 0-596-00663-2

Price: $29.95 US; $43.95 CAN

As Linux users, we're used to cracking open our cases to modify our computers, but as Building the Perfect PC shows, this practice is no longer merely for techies. In fact, many ordinary people are building PCs from scratch. A grandmother that one of the authors met at a big-box store was in the process of building her third PC—this time for her granddaughter.

You may be comfortable hacking together a device driver without having the specs available. But, if you are like me, you might feel tentative about plugging an expensive CPU in to a motherboard. If so, then this book is for you.

Building the Perfect PC has a larger-than-usual format than other O'Reilly books. The larger size is due to the margins being filled with photos illustrating the proper method for putting together various components. So that's how the thermal compound is applied!

The book cites many reasons why you would want to build your own PC, including lower cost, broader options, better component quality and no bundled software. Most interesting to me, though, is the ability to build PCs for specific purposes. Not only does this book teach readers how to build mainstream PCs and SOHO servers, but there are chapters on building “Kick-Ass LAN Party PCs” and home theater PCs.

Each project is contained in a chapter that starts with a section called “Determining Functional Requirements and Hardware Design Criteria”. When it comes to component considerations, the authors are not shy about recommending products by brand name. They don't claim that their recommendations are the only good choices, but they want you to benefit from their experience and research. After you're done designing your system, you're ready to build. The bulk of the chapter then guides you through building the system and offers many photographs and helpful explanations for doing so.

The book doesn't have too many technical details about configuring software, but that kind of information is available elsewhere. At times the chatty style of the authors seems a little more suited to a magazine article than a book. But if you're looking for a friendly guide to putting together hardware, I recommend this book. If you read it, you soon will be inspired to put together your own project, perhaps the home theater. The results will be better, more flexible and less expensive than any product you can buy ready made and off the shelf.

______________________

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

What I really wanted to see ...

Anonymous's picture

What I really wanted to see in a Linux Journal review of "Building the Perfect PC" is how well the book does in calling out any Linux compatibility issues. The review doesn't even mention this. I can read a gazillion reviews of this book - all saying how good it is - but I wanted one that would tell me how well it addressed Linux-specific issues. (By the way, the 2nd edition is due out 2006-12-28, unfortunately just after Christmas!)

White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState