Building the Perfect PC, 3rd Edition
The Perfect PC is the One You Build Yourself
Publisher: Maker Media, Inc
Final Release Date: November 2010
Pages: 368

Build a PC that will outperform any brand-name box on the market

Yes, even if you’re not a total geek you can build your own PC -- and we guarantee it’s worth the effort. You’ll discover that the quality is better and the cost is much lower than any comparable off-the-shelf PC you can buy. Design the custom computer you want, and have fun doing it.

  • Get high-quality PC hardware from local stores and online vendors
  • Plan your computer project with a complete checklist
  • Create the ideal PC that will run Windows 7 or Linux
  • Take advantage of the latest multi-core CPUs
  • Assemble, test, and configure your PC with ease
  • Build a PC that meets your needs and fits your budget

Written by hardware experts, this book delivers complete instructions for building your own dream machine with high-quality components, whether it’s a PC for general use, extreme gaming, a media center, or home server. Straightforward language, clear directions, and easy-to-follow illustrations make this guide a breeze for computer builders of any skill level, even those with no experience.

Building the Perfect PC presents six in-depth custom PC projects:

  • Mainstream PC -- Fast, flexible, quiet, and reliable at a reasonable price
  • Extreme System -- A wicked fast PC for video editing, gaming, and more
  • Media Center -- One PC to replace your TiVo, game console, DVD, and CD player
  • Home Server -- Ideal home network hub to store, share, and secure data
  • Appliance PC -- A tiny, quiet, inexpensive PC you can put anywhere
  • Budget System -- Reliable and highly functional at a low, low price
Table of Contents
Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
O'Reilly MediaBuilding the Perfect PC, 3rd Edition
 
4.4

(based on 7 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

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86%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (6)
  • Helpful examples (6)
  • Well-written (6)
  • Accurate (5)
  • Concise (4)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate (6)
    • Novice (6)
    • Student (5)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Developer (4), Educator (3)

    Reviewed by 7 customers

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    5.0

    Want to build a PC? This is the Book!!

    By vasudev

    from India

    About Me Microsoft MVP, Technology Enthusiast

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about O'Reilly Media Building the Perfect PC, 3rd Edition:

      If you're contemplating to build your own PC, be it any kind – This is the Book for You!
      This is the book for all who are thinking of building their own PC or those who just want to know what goes inside the PC. Actually Building a PC now a days is not only for Geeks but with this book any one interested can build.
      This book will surely help to select the best components as per your need and assemble them into a working PC. And I'm sure the joy you get when you switch on your own built PC.

      The book covers each chapter very well starting from the Fundamentals, Chapter1 covers -Why Build a PC?, Things to know before you start, Things you need to have and Troubleshooting – the main fear every first time builder has, if it doesn't start, then what? Thus this book Troubleshooting provides confidence in the first time builder.

      Chapter2 covers Choosing and Buying the Component in detail. Every component in detail with finer points and buying guides.

      After this comes various chapters on Building of different kinds of PCs. Each chapter (Chapter3 to Chapter 8) covering a type of PC, be it a Budget PC, A Mainstream System, An Extreme System, A media center system,Appliance/Nettop system, Home Server.
      All these are covered in-depth. Each dedicated chapter is with lots of details and screenshots.

      Surely this Book is for everyone interested in Building a PC themselves and also for those who just wants to know the insides of a PC. And building a PC yourself will not only saves costs but also its custom made as per your exact requirement and better quality. Surely recommended even for those with no experience and experienced, everyone will find this book very interesting.

       
      5.0

      Perfect Book For Building The Perfect PC

      By Kevin the Medi-Nerd

      from Medina, Ohio

      About Me Educator

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice

        Comments about O'Reilly Media Building the Perfect PC, 3rd Edition:

        I have a confession which may cost me a large portion of my geek cred.

        I have never built my own PC.

        This is not to say that I haven't upgraded PCs, both my own and those owned by clients of the company I work for. I've installed RAM, hard drives, optical drives, and power supplies. I'm halfway to building my own PC, so why haven't I taken the plunge? Put simply, it's just been easier to go online to the Dell Outlet and buy what I want. For example, the laptop I'm typing this review on, a Dell Studio 15, I picked up last year for under $600. Here's the thing, though: Dell and other retail PC sellers keep their prices down by using low end parts which have failure rates higher than normal. While you usually get a one year warranty on the PC you buy, you're out of luck if something breaks after that year ends. While building a PC on your own may cost more, the quality and piece of mind you get are more than worth the cost difference.

        This is where Building the Perfect PC comes in. This book, written by Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson, a husband and wife team who have written all three editions, presents multiple PC configurations based on their designed purpose, recommending the hardware for each configuration. Each configuration is given a chapter in the book, describing the purpose of the specific PC, the hardware chosen (and why), and step-by-step instructions, including pictures, on how to build that PC. Robert and Barbara also talk about why they chose the hardware components for each PC configuration and, after the PC is built, describes the results of the "smoke test" (if it smokes when you turn it on for the first time, you did it wrong), and gives their final thoughts on the PC they've built and the building process.

        I've read through the book without building anything as I wanted to familiarize myself with how the book is written, plus I wanted to see which of the PC configurations I wanted to try. While reading, I enjoyed the writing style which the Thompsons utilize, referring to one another throughout based on the PC being built and their thoughts on each. There are also notes and interjections from other PC experts throughout the book, providing either supporting opinion or counterpoints to what the Thompsons recommend. Since I haven't built any of the PC configurations yet, I will say that the instructions were very clear and, since the book was recently updated, the hardware recommended is still available. Even if the hardware is not available in the future, it's easy to look up what models have replaced those recommendations and build a similarly priced PC with even better hardware.

        If you're looking to buid your first PC, this is definitely a book for you. Even if you have built multiple PCs in your geek life, you'll still want to consider looking through this book to see if the hardware the Thompsons recommend are better options to what you currently use. As hardware continues to evolve, we'll definitely want to keep our eyes open for the fourth edition of this book and see what Robert and Barbara have found to build their perfect PCs.

         
        4.0

        Budget and build an inexpensive PC

        By Eder Andres Avila

        from Paipa, Colombia

        About Me University Student

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Concise
        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Intermediate
          • Novice
          • Student

          Comments about O'Reilly Media Building the Perfect PC, 3rd Edition:

          I recommend this book but with the following advice. This book is a valuable resource for two kinds of readers: one are the low to mid level technicians, and another are the "project executives", not for pure beginners trying to build their own PC. If you want to build your own PC you need some hardware knowledge background to understand the technical speeches like DIMM, sockets, and SATA to some degree, and the motivation to handle wires, screws and little tools, of course. But wait!

          If you are the "project executive" for hardware acquisition, you may be interested in knowing what to buy, why to buy, how much it cost and how to deploy it. These "project executives" can be family parents, shop owners and enterprise leaders who need an information technology for their home or business. After reading this book, you will not go blindly to a mall trusting what the ticket or the seller says about a computer, instead you will have more criteria for choosing an appropriate PC.

          With the help of a computer science student, for example, you can save some money if you decide to build the computer at your own by choosing only the hardware capabilities and software you really need and your budget imposes. So, despite you are not interested in the process of building, this book gives directions for choosing reliable, inexpensive hardware.

          The benefits for low to mid level technicians, like computer science students, are evident because it helps to build a complete PC depending if it is for home, development or more intensive tasks. I like that this book explains the physical components of a computer without going to deep inside computer architecture theory. Of course, you need some knowledge about the different characteristics of memory, main board, hard drives, and buses, among others, but you can build a suitable PC without getting lost in a very technical discussion.

          Moreover, if you are an open source developer you can save money by not buying the Windows operating system which comes by default on PC sold at a shopping mall. For instance, in Colombia major computer manufactures, like Hewlett–Packard, sold their computers with pre-installed Windows, thus increasing about 20% to 30% the final cost.
          In conclusion, Building the Perfect PC is a good book for technical and non–technical users looking for an alternative, affordable, reliable, inexpensive computer in practicable, understandable, illustrative, quick manner.

          Note: This review was in exchange of the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program (http://oreilly.com/bloggers/)

          (2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

           
          2.0

          Who's this book intended for?

          By Aaron Sumner

          from Lawrence, KS

          About Me Developer, Educator

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Helpful examples

          Cons

          • Too many errors

          Best Uses

          • Not sure

          Comments about O'Reilly Media Building the Perfect PC, 3rd Edition:

          Building the Perfect PC, Third Edition by Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson is written for anyone who's tired of buying off-the-shelf computers and is ready to go the DIY route. I think that's great—building a computer is educational, gratifying, and, with the right guidance, can even be fun. Unfortunately, I don't know if this book provides that kind of guidance.

          I'm not a newcomer to building and maintaining computer hardware. I've built big servers, little servers and desktop PCs; and for years kept an old Macintosh G4 plugging along well after its prime through systematic upgrades to pretty much every component except its motherboard and power supply. I'd been thinking about a home server to handle backups and a little file sharing, and figured I'd give Building the Perfect PC a shot before buying something off-the-shelf. I purchased the recommended components for a home server and sat down to assemble it last week. More on my results in a moment.

          In the book, Thompson and Thompson cover building a budget PC, a mainstream PC, a high-end PC, a media center, an Internet PC, and the aforementioned home server. Each project is documented with a list of components (with rationale) followed by step-by-step instructions. The projects are well-documented with photographs, checklists, and potential gotchas. The photographs are high quality and should, in theory, be sufficient to walk readers through the process from start to finish.

          However, I have three major issues with Building the Perfect PC. First, I feel like if you read this book any later than a few months after its November 2010 publication date, the recommended components lists are going to be out of date. Second, although the building procedures for each type of computer are thoroughly documented, due to variations in the same components they recommend, some of the steps and corresponding photos aren't correct. If you're a newcomer to building PCs, and just spent a few hundred dollars on parts, and have read in multiple places that connecting a power supply or fan incorrectly can damage your investment, this might be disconcerting. Finally, the authors spend way too much time preaching the merits of DIY PC building, to the point that much of their proselytization is repeated in just the first couple of chapters. The why could have been covered in much less space to give more room for content for readers new to PC building.

          Long story short: I still don't have a server. I had to order more cables. My theory is that Thompson and Thompson got some of their existing inventory of extra parts and cables mixed up with what came with the components purchased for the project. I'm hopeful that sometime next week I'll be up and running, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that right now I'm feeling some buyer's remorse on this whole project. To be fair, my experiences are based on just one of the six projects offered in the book, but that doesn't make them any less frustrating.

          Ultimately, I'm not sure for whom Building the Perfect PC is intended—it's probably too basic for anyone who's built a computer before, and might make too many assumptions for first-timers. For the former, reading up on the latest components through industry blogs or periodicals would do the trick (the components in this book are apt to be last year's options by the time you pick it up), and for the latter, a book with some kind of glossary or primer up front might be a better way to go.

          Note: I was provided a free copy of this book in return for my review via O'Reilly's Blogger Review program.

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Perfect Guide

          By ArpitNext

          from India

          About Me Developer, Sys Admin

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Concise
          • Easy to understand
          • Well-written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Intermediate
            • Novice
            • Student

            Comments about O'Reilly Media Building the Perfect PC, 3rd Edition:

            It is the complete tutorial. You don't need to refer any other content.

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            You CAN build your own PC!

            By Wayne

            from Maumelle

            About Me Designer, Developer, Educator, Maker

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Accurate
            • Concise
            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples
            • Well-written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Intermediate
              • Novice
              • Student

              Comments about O'Reilly Media Building the Perfect PC, 3rd Edition:

              Building the Perfect PC, by Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson, is the perfect introduction to the world of building your own computer. Whether you're looking for a general purpose computer built mainly for playing Farmville, or you want to build a web server, or a MythTV DVR computer, or you want a system that can play Crysis on max settings, this book will teach you how. The Thompson's introduce you to the world of PC building by explaining why you should want to build your own (and you should!), and then proceed to demystify the process of selecting components and putting them together to build your perfect PC, designed specifically for what you want to do.

              Having built my own computers (and having cobbled together a few from various dead PCs), I can say this guide is an invaluable resource. The money that you will save buying an equivalent pre-built PC will probably be much greater than the cost of this book, so if you're in the market for a new PC you should buy this book and build your own. You'll be able to custom tailor your PC to your individual needs and desires, that will be a much better buy than anything you can find pre-built.

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Building a PC yourself has many benefits

              By Frank M

              from Akron, OH

              About Me Designer, Developer, Maker

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Thorough
              • Up to date
              • Well-written

              Cons

              • Software little coverage

              Best Uses

              • Expert
              • Intermediate
              • Novice
              • Student

              Comments about O'Reilly Media Building the Perfect PC, 3rd Edition:

              Authors Robert & Barbara Thompson have again written an amazing guide for anyone with intentions of building their own PC. I am again happy to be a dedicated PC user. Apple users are not able to build their own Mac computers as far as I know.

              This book is a great supplement for the usual motherboard User Guide but should not be considered a substitute. There is now a lot new to learn about parts because everything has changed from my previous build in 2005. As the writers say you can't even get any of those parts any more. Now we must learn about Intel Quad core i3, i5 or i7 processors, SATA hard drives, LCD monitors, USB devices, SATA 3.0 ports, and new kinds of memory. Other possible processors and other components also are new.

              The most valuable part of the book is help in choosing and buying components, and how to design a perfect PC. There is also a general section re troubleshooting after assembly. Most helpful to me is a final checklist before "the Smoke Test" for each design. Each PC described has such a final check list.

              Many color photos and detailed building descriptions for all of the models are very thorough. There is a model for almost everyone. This edition has 6 different PC's for your choice. Included are a Budget PC, Mainstream System, Extreme System, Media Center System, Appliance/Nettop System, and a Home Server

              Using the book I am in the process of selecting components for my new Extreme Mainstream System, a combination of two models in the book. I am not into Gaming, Video production or other high end use. So far I have purchased a full tower case, an Asus P7P55D- E Pro motherboard, and an Intel Quad core i7 processor. Next is likely a 2 TB SATA 3.0 Gb/s hard drive. The final acquisition of all components will soon be completed. Then comes the final fun of building the system, guided by the motherboard user guide and this amazing resource book. Slogan on the book cover: "The perfect PC is the one you build yourself."

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