Pabst tackles one hardware subsystem at a time, detailing the state of the art in hard drives, processors, video cards (2-D and 3-D), memory, modems, and more. His explanations are up-to-date and lucid, and are among the best for those who want only to know how to make their systems as fast as possible. His discussion of overclocking is among the best anywhere--it's something you'll want to read if you're serious about getting the most from your machine.
It's refreshing to see a hardware book actually take sides on important hardware issues. Where it's appropriate, Pabst describes his specific personal preferences for products, naming manufacturers and models. Though "Tom's Picks" are sure to become less cutting-edge as this book ages, they're likely to remain solid choices for some time--and Pabst surely will do frequent revisions anyway.
As is often the case with hardware books, the photographs in Tom's Hardware Guide aren't very good. Some of them are grainy, most are too dark, and very few of them add anything to the reader's understanding of the topic. Diagrams, however, are good, and Pabst's excellent, highly informed text overshadows all shortcomings. --David Wall