- Series: Peter Norton Series
- Paperback: 816 pages
- Publisher: Sams; Subsequent edition (May 21, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0672315327
- ISBN-13: 978-0672315329
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 2.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,771,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Peter Norton's Inside the PC, Eighth Edition Subsequent Edition
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Peter Norton's Inside the PC, this new edition included, is an excellent resource for those who need a broad-brush introduction to personal computer technology. It gives succinct explanations of important technologies--including information for shoppers--and even provides a high-level explanation of what computer programming is all about.
A book like this can't expect to stay current for long, and time has already introduced some shortcomings: There's no coverage of the new 66 Mbps Ultra DMA standard and the controller cards needed to implement it. Similarly, the authors neglect any discussion of the controversial serial number feature of the Intel Pentium III and (less excusably) barely touch on digital photography.
Nonetheless, Peter Norton's Inside the PC has a very readable style--it's possible to sit down with this book, enjoy reading it, and come away more knowledgeable than when you began. It's also handy as a reference--you can look up mysterious PC terms here and expect to find a good explanation. --David Wall
Topics covered: Inside IBM-standard PCs, processors, disks, memory, peripherals, networking (including the Internet), and the newest developments in 3-D audio and video.
From the Back Cover
Peter Norton's Inside the PC, 8th Edition provides insight into the PC family. The book focuses on the exploration of the PC including the hardware and its interior as well as concentrating on the operating systems--Windows and DOS. The more you know about your PC the better you can truly realize the potential of the machine. This book will help you understand what goes on inside the PC, which will help you make more educated decisions in buying new or additional equipment. Peter Norton covers everything from processors to operating systems, monitors to multimedia, and mobile PCs to the Internet. Become well versed in all of these technologies and more!
Top customer reviews
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This book is fabulous. No argument possible, it's a great book. It may be better suited to some experience/interest levels than others, but by any standard it's an excellent book.
It's like an "Encyclopedia of the IBM-PC," but with in depth treatment of the topics. If you've ever wondered what any acronym (PCMCIA, e.g.) means, you will find it in this book. The difference is that whereas another book may explain that acronym with only a sentence or a paragraph, Norton gives you seven pages on that and related technologies including: ATA protocol, CardBus, Card Services, CIS, flash, Media storage format, Socket Services.... Multiply that level of detail times every computer acronym you've ever wondered about and you have a valuable resource.
The book is an in-depth overview to the PC. You get deeper coverage of each topic then you would normally get in a book of this type, and therein lies the main value. Still, since it's an overview, if you want to dig into a topic you are given excellent references to external sources.
As expected, given Norton's roots in the disk utilities area, great depth is given to the subject of hard and floppy disks and their structure and organization. You won't find a better or deeper treatment of this material anywhere other than Norton's materials. If you want to understand the FAT, FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, master boot block, master boot record, partition table, etc., this is the place.
The book targets beginners to experts, and I think that's a strength. Beginners get introductory material (like what is a byte or a serial cable) explained, while experts get deep treatment (like why a 16550A UART is better than a 16550 p429). That makes this single book a great reference for anyone, especially a newbie. You may have to study some pages carefully or even look up external resources, but isn't that unavoidable?
Sadly, tragically, this book is left over from an earlier, better, time of computing. The first edition of this book is from a day when you owned your own computer, not Microsoft. In that day, fun, excitement, experimentation, discovery, fascination, and programming the hardware yourself were still part of the equation. In that day it was popular to use a tool like DEBUG and poke around in the portions of memory managed by the operating system and really understand what was going on. Now, Windows is so complex and sophisticated that poking around like that is of limited usefulness. Still, tell me where are you going to get anyone to tell you about DEBUG or using I/O ports to talk to the CMOS or real-time clock these days?
Also the info on understanding the hard and floppy disks, while fascinating, is of limited use in modern times. Back in the day when a 10MB hard disk cost you $1000, yes, you might take the time to use DEBUG to poke around the sectors and repair the partition table. In modern times I would not do that. I would just go to "Best Buy" and buy a new one for $50 and use the other 2 days of my weekend for reading this excellent book.
This book is not good for advanced users though. Whether it claims to be or not, DON'T BUY THIS BOOK IF YOU KNOW A FAIR AMOUNT ABOUT COMPUTER HARDWARE ALREADY. If you do you will be disappointed. That's why I always go for books that are more advanced to push myself.