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38 Reviews
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hand-holding for the novice
Imagine all of those beautiful, expensive parts on your work table, and a trusted friend shows up to walk you through the process of building your first computer. He's there to look over your should and help when you need. You are confident and empowered.

This is an excellent book, with very clear logic about laying out and building three different levels of...
Published on April 27, 2009 by J. B Kraft

versus
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but flawed
I was excited to find this book when I decided to build my own gaming desktop...it was up to date and full of good reviews. This is 6 months down the road and I'm typing this on the very computer it helped me build. I hadn't ever built a computer before and I didn't have any experts in person who I could call over to help in tough moments. I do owe quite a bit to this...
Published on April 23, 2010 by Drew


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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hand-holding for the novice, April 27, 2009
By 
J. B Kraft "lonestargazer" (Palestine, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies (Paperback)
Imagine all of those beautiful, expensive parts on your work table, and a trusted friend shows up to walk you through the process of building your first computer. He's there to look over your should and help when you need. You are confident and empowered.

This is an excellent book, with very clear logic about laying out and building three different levels of computer systems. While I have been a PC user since 1981, I never tried to build one until now, and I was worried about how the big bucks I was plunking down would translate.

Now that you have all these parts, where do you start? What should your concerns be? in 28 years of PC fiddling and replacing parts, for example, I never had anybody tell me that it was okay (and useful) to use a magnetic screwdriver.

While it is, technologically speaking, a step behind the latest state of the art, it covers the fundamental order and process of assembly and test in clear, concise and memorable prose. Couple this with the "bad english" instructions that will come with your components, and you should get through this fine.

The author is good enough to inspire confidence. I guess the only things I saw that were lacking is I would like to have seen him write about building a laptop and about liquid cooling. Other than that, I could not think of an idea that was missed.

There is also a CD with it. Oddly enough, this book lacks a "troubleshooting" chapter or section, but that's the only flaw I've found.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but flawed, April 23, 2010
This review is from: Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies (Paperback)
I was excited to find this book when I decided to build my own gaming desktop...it was up to date and full of good reviews. This is 6 months down the road and I'm typing this on the very computer it helped me build. I hadn't ever built a computer before and I didn't have any experts in person who I could call over to help in tough moments. I do owe quite a bit to this book and I don't want to overlook that, however there are flaws. I'm pretty sure that this book alone wouldn't be enough for everybody.

My biggest complaint is that the book tries to not alienate people with "techno babble". Granted, I bought a "for dummies" book...I knew it wasn't going to read like a motherboard manual, but come on...we're talking about building a freaking computer here, you'd be foolish not to expect some "techno babble". You're better off having to google some technical terms than being left in the dark entirely!

One moment that had me freaked out was connecting the buttons and lights of the case to the motherboard. The wires are all tiny and only are marked by random letters and maybe a + or - symbol...its the kind of thing thats a breeze after you've done it once or twice, but when you are figuring it out on your own with no help at all (the book provided *no* help with this at all...I just reread the section to make sure I didn't miss it the first time around).

The other thing which I can't imagine other people having an easy time with is deciding exactly what to buy. What I did (and anybody interested in buying this book could do) is go to a well populated, well-informed forum and ask what people there would recommend in a certain price range. It would be nice though if the book would get a bit more in depth with this. I understand that books can't stay up to date with something that evolves as quickly as computer components, but there is basic advice that doesn't change nearly as quickly and overall rules that don't really change at all.

I would still recommend this book to people because at least at the time I bought it there wasn't anything else out there that was quite as useful. It's definitely worth buying...just don't assume it's all you'll need to build your first computer if you're walking into this clueless and need handholding the entire way.

3 1/2 stars
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction and written in a easy to understand style, May 11, 2009
By 
Kiki (Minneapolis, MN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies (Paperback)
I've worked with PCs for over twenty years, but it's been ten-plus years since I had a need to look inside one other than to add the occasional RAM chip. I decided its time to replace my PC and was disappointed at the configuration options available from Dell,HP, and Sony, so I decided to consider building one with my specific wants in mind.

Mark does a wonderful job explaining the basics of what you need to know, what's important and what's not important. I read the book in one day and felt completely comfortable specifying my a PC to meet my needs. I've already decided what I want in my new PC. I went back and figured out what I would have to add to the HP and Dell configurations to match my own design. Doing it myself looks like I'll save 20% to 25% ($1,400 vs $1,750-$1,900). Not bad for a day of reading and day of assembly. An added bonus will be the lack of bloat-ware (a/k/a/ useless software) usually installed by HP and Dell.

Not surprising, Amazon sells 90% of the components I want so I'll be making good use my Amazon Prime shipping plan. My UPS guy already thinks I own stock in Amazon, so what's a few more boxes!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a seemingly-daunting task very doable, November 20, 2009
By 
Jonathan (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies (Paperback)
"Build Your Own PC for Dummies," written by Mark Chambers, takes you through the entire process of building a PC from the ground up, from "Why would I build my own PC anyway?" to determining what kind of machine you should build to what components you will need to actual assembly to maintenance and upkeep.

The book is arranged sequentially, so by following it from beginning to end you will be led through each and every step, all with the trademark Dummies sense of humor and Chambers' vast insight. Each chapter is also self-contained, so if you only need help with, say, installing a new video card, you can skip right to that part (and if he references anything from another chapter, Chambers will tell you what chapter you should refer to).

As the book progresses, Chambers builds a top-of-the-line computer using the outlined steps, giving exact parts and the rationale behind why he chose them. A companion DVD to the book shows the actual assembly process for those who are more visual-oriented.

I was pleasantly surprised at the rather unbiased comparison of Linux, Vista and XP in the operating system chapter - rather than becoming a fanboy of either side, Chambers lists the strengths of all the systems and makes recommendations based on what you have in mind for your PC.

A handy section at the end of the guide is a collection of "Top Ten" lists, such as biggest assembly pitfalls and tips to maintain your hard drive.

This book is a fun read, conveys great information, is easy to digest and is generously illustrated. I give it my highest recommendation, and am using it to build a PC that will save me about 35% off retail and will last longer.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars out-dated and too sugar-coated, November 1, 2011
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This review is from: Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies (Paperback)
Even though it was published in 2009, it is already out of date and needs a new version. For just a basic computer model you need more than just 512MB of RAM... He also goes into things that everyone should already know about (i.e. printers, scanners, and microphones). That being said it does give some decent background knowledge on components for those that don't know much about computers; that's why there are two stars instead of just one.

I suggest Building the Perfect PC instead. It does have a bit more advanced language, but the authors do a decent job of explaining all the new terms and components. He builds six different types of computers instead of just three and it is quite a bit more recent. The authors have decades of computer experience and are extremely knowledgeable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Clear and Concise, January 18, 2010
By 
C. Powell (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies (Paperback)
For anyone interested in building a PC, but hasn't the slightest idea of where to begin, as I did, this book is an excellent resource. The book outlines in very basic, easy to understand terms what you need to know to put a custom PC together.

If you're like me, and don't know a lot about components for now, then you should be advised that this book cannot be your only resource. While the author will hit the major points to consider in choosing components, you will need to research more recent articles online to help you decide what to pick. Chambers lists sites you can check out for benchmarks and reviews for whatever piece you're looking for, and they're all good sources. And this is all because, of course, technology is constantly changing. What was top-notch when Chambers wrote the book has most likely been replaced by something much better.

If you're interested in i7 processors, Chambers does talk about quad-core CPUs with hyperthreading. If you're interested in overclocking, it's in there too. He talks about SLI as well.

The only thing that comes to mind that is too recent to be in the book is Windows 7; you'll just have to go to those outside sources I mentioned for that. :)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A definite "meh", June 21, 2010
This review is from: Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies (Paperback)
This book is the definition of mediocre.

I suppose I might have expected a little too much from a "For Dummies" book, but it does seem to suffer from an odd misunderstanding of audience. As another reviewer mentioned, entire pages are dedicated to things like plugging a device into a USB drive. If you're the kind of person who can't figure out which way the USB drive goes, building your own computer is never even going to occur to you.

Then, oddly enough, the sample computer he builds over the course of the book is a super high-end, top-of-the-line, extreme gaming computer. Huh? There's even an entire chapter dedicated to modding your gaming computer with glow lights and paint jobs. Anyone who might ever even consider adding lighted fans and two video cards to their computer is not going to read about it in a "For Dummies" book. And if they did, they'd probably be pretty annoyed to discover that the instructions for "Configuring SLI for Multiple Video Cards" literally read, "Install the bridge cables between the two video cards. Reboot your computer." Really? The one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work here- you should not spend equal page space explaining the really simple and the really complex things.

Meanwhile, the average reader who just wants to build a mid-range computer is left scratching his head, wondering if he really needs 4 GB of RAM.

On the plus side, the book gives a pretty good, basic overview of all the different components that go into a computer, and the specifications that define them. Unfortunately it doesn't do this in a context that makes any sense, so you don't come away with any insight on how to actually choose good, compatible components that suit your needs. While it's a good start to understanding the inner workings of a computer, it doesn't actually leave you in a position to pick up a screwdriver and start assembling your own computer from the ground up.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dumb Book, April 24, 2010
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This review is from: Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies (Paperback)
This book is written for a true dummy, someone who doesn't have a clue about computers. Two thirds of a chapter are devoted to installing a mouse and keyboard. It spends a page and a half explaining, in bullet points with enormous margins, how to install a microphone, including how to clip it to your shirt if it is a clip microphone, set it on the desk if it is a boom microphone, or peal of the protector and stick it to your computer if it is sticky microphone--"but not over an opening you might have to use." I mean, this book was written for my mother. My mother is actually pretty smart, but she would never dream of building a computer. In fact, my mother would give me the same impressed look and words of encouragement whether I told her I was building a computer or building a space ship. I could start talking about installing a CPU or a plasma hyperdrive and she would give me a pat on the back and make a soup and sandwich for me while I worked on it--and have no idea why anyone would do such a thing. She has a hard enough time thinking of a reason to use a computer. Who on earth is going to want to build a computer, but not know how to attach the keyboard?

Not only is this book filled with huge margins and dumb instructions written for people who probably don't really use computer much, it leaves out the answers I'm looking for. For instance, I bought a Corsair 800D case. It comes with six fan slots. There are only two chassis fan power connections and a CPU fan power connection on the motherboard. So, how do I connect the other fans. Or I wanted to know what determines the boot order of SATA drives. I'll have to look the first question up on the web one day in the distant future when my computer actually needs six fans. The second one is a dumb question--the SATA connections are numbered and the the slot determines the boot order. But this is the kind of dumb question a person building a computer for the first time is going to ask--not whether to try to stick a boom microphone to their shirt or set it on the desk.

The one way this book might be useful is calling to mind that there are at least three types of microphones that one could shop for--but that is what browsing products and reviews on Amazon is for.

I never bother to send books that were mistakes back to Amazon. But I may send this one back because I don't feel like it will sit on the bookshelf waiting to be referred to one day, or waiting to impress a visitor, or even that it would make a good gift--"here you go mom, two books, the first on is just in case you want to install a photon torpedo tube on your battle station and the second one in case you want to add some random access memory to your ATX mobo. And here's a lump of coal to play with in case you get bored with the books." This book is such a waste of space that I want to throw it away. But I can't bring myself to throw away a $20 book. So, Amazon, if I make it by a post office in the next 15 days or so--and happen to have the book, box, and mailing label all with me at the time--this book is going back.

This is the first and last time I will ever buy one of these books "For Dummies."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference book.., September 13, 2013
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This review is from: Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies (Paperback)
I bought this book, along with "Fix Your Own Computer For Seniors For Dummies" for my ADHD daughter to learn how to repair her own computer. With ADHD, it is always difficult to keep her attention long enough for her to learn something. But with both of these books as reference tools, she recently built her own gaming computer!
Of course now she is glued to her computer playing World of Warcraft against her twin brother.. but now she is confident in her ability to fix her own computer should it break again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for a newbie PC builder, April 17, 2013
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This review is from: Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies (Paperback)
I just got this book and it has helped me a great deal in building a great gaming PC I recommend this product to anyone who doubts there skills and want to build a PC
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Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies
Build Your Own PC Do-It-Yourself For Dummies by Mark L. Chambers (Paperback - February 3, 2009)
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