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Tom's Hardware Guide 1st Edition

3.1 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0789716866
ISBN-10: 0789716860
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Tom's Hardware Guide, the owner of a popular hardware-centric Web site makes the leap to paper media. He does a good job, too, providing power users--especially serious gamers--with a solid guide to the latest in IBM-standard components.

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

From the Back Cover

Tom's Hardware Guide was created to provide you with the inside scoop on attaining the ultimate in PC performance. Written by the originators of tomshardware.com, the Interenet's #1 source of new technology information and performance reviews. Millions of people rely on Tom's reviews and advice. Tom's no-holds-barred approach to the PC industry has made him into the premier technology industry guru. From Intel's boardroom to the individual at the corner computer store--they all look to Tom for information on the latest technology products.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Que Publishing; 1 edition (September 5, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789716860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789716866
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,680,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This was an absolute great reference for many of the components I buy to upgrade my computers. It is not a technical reference, but if you need to buy any component for a computer, read this book. Unfortunately, at this point, this book is now outdated and pretty much useless, unless you want to buy older components. Tom should update this book once a year or so, which is about how fast the computer industry moves. There was really only one thing I didn't like about the book when I purchased it a while ago: Not many motherboard references for Socket 7 or Super 7. Tom, at that time at least, seemed to be stuck on Intel Pentiums. I like the AMD's because they perform well and don't cost an arm and a leg. If Tom were to update this book, I would definitely purchase it. You do not have to be a super computer expert to understand this book. The format is perfect and its always exciting to read Tom's Pick at the end of each chapter.
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By A Customer on March 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
I made the mistake of buying this book, and I can't believe how bad it is. I was expecting a technically competent, insightful, no BS book about PC hardware. What I got was an outdated, error-plagued, superficial book that's not much use to anyone, novice or expert. Here are just a few amazing facts I found in Tom's Hardware Guide:
* 30-pin SIMMs are 16 bits wide, and so must be installed in pairs in 386 and 486 systems. [30-pin SIMMs are 8 bits wide, and must be installed four per bank in 386/486 systems, and eight per bank in the few Pentium-class systems that use them.]
*DAT stands for Digital Analog Tape [DAT stands for Digital Audio Tape, and anyway the proper terminology for a "DAT" tape drive is DDS, not DAT]
*xDSL throughput varies according to how heavily other users on your xDSL line are transferring data [xDSL is a point-to-point service, and does not use shared media]
*"A 7GB DAT cartridge costs only about $12 per unit, for an incredible value of 597.3MB per penny. That's half a gig for each penny you spend." [When I do the calculations, I get (7 GB*1,024 MB/GB)/1200 cents = 5.97 MB/penny. This isn't isolated, either. Anywhere this author does math, you'd best check it yourself.]
*Most telephones use Category 2 cable [there is no such thing as Category 2 cable, and never has been]
*No video is available during a flash BIOS recovery procedure [the author apparently doesn't realize that this is true only for PCI video cards, which is an excellent reason to keep an old ISA video card around.]
*TCP/IP doesn't do "transfer checking" and is therefore less reliable than IPX/SPX. [Huh? From his garbled explanation, it appears that the author is referring to UDP rather than TCP.
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Format: Paperback
Tom's Hardware Guide website is well known for its devotion to detailed information and reviews of the latest technology and even business trends in the PC industry. This book also goes into great detail over each of the subsystems of your computer, from the motherboard to the keyboard. It explains how each subsystem works and how the choices of each type of component will affect your system. It has up-to-date info on the very latest technologies, including the 3D video chipsets of 3Dfx and Nvidia, as well as explaining the benefits (or not) of AGP. However, its very up-to-date nature will not last. Anyone who has paid any attention to the PC industry knows how quickly current technology is outpaced by bigger and better stuff: my new PC with a Pentium II 400 MHz processor was superceded by the 450 MHz version within only a *month* of its purchase! Thus the information in this book, while accurate, fully detailed, and intelligently written, will be outdated or obsoleted within a year. Much of the information on the basic technologies, such as SCSI vs IDE, may remain stable for longer, but for the more volatile areas like 3D video and CPU chips will certainly not. The guide seems to recognize this fact, however, with section titles such as "Currently available network cards" and with a timetable for emerging CPU chips from Intel. As well, the bookcover is paper and the photographs are dark and hard to distinguish at times, as if the authors recognize the time-sensitive nature of its contents and knew they didn't need to print it on anything of long-lasting quality.
In other words, this is an excellent book if you are trying to decide between currently available technologies for your current system, or if you want to understand how each of the subsystems in your computer work in detail. If you're looking for a lasting tome of info for your bookshelf, this ain't it-- though there probably won't be one from anyone anytime soon.
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Format: Paperback
Many reviews I have seen have missed the point entirely. Tom's Hardware Guide, like any computer book, will fall victim to the changing cutting edge, but the fact is that most computer users aren't wasting their parent's money riding the cutting edge of technology. The average computer user will find the explinations of current technologies usefull even when the high-end users have long since moved onto the latest and greatest. Tom is known for his no-nonsence benchmarks and unbiased reviews of technologies. The real value in this book, however, is in the explinations of the boards, chipsets, ram and ports used in today's computers. This information is invaluable to everyone from purchasers looking to judge the quality of a prebuilt system to users who just want to know more about the workings of their computer.
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