Cover image for Building a PC for dummies
Building a PC for dummies
Chambers, Mark A.
Personal Author:
Fourth edition.
Publication Information:
Hoboken, N.J. : Wiley Pub., [2003]

Physical Description:
xviii, 360 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TK9969 .C43 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Designed for first-time builders and seasoned veterans this book will help users design and build the system they really want - from determining which parts are needed for troubleshooting when things don?t work right. Covers the main features of building a PC including: building the foundation, adding RAM, adding a video card and a monitor, installing a hard drive and other storage devices, hooking up CD and DVD drives, connecting the sound card, installing a modem, adding a scanner, printer and speakers, and much more.

Author Notes

Mark L. Chambers has been a computer consultant, programmer, hardware technician, and author for over 20 years. He has written more than 15 computer books.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Foolish Assumptionsp. 1
About This Bookp. 2
Conventions Used in This Bookp. 2
How This Book Is Organizedp. 3
Icons Used in This Bookp. 5
Where to Go from Herep. 5
Part I Can I Really Do This?p. 7
Chapter 1 What's in a Computer, Anyway?p. 9
Anyone Can Assemble a PCp. 10
PCs Are Built with Standard Partsp. 14
Understanding Your Computer's Componentsp. 14
Connecting Your Computer Componentsp. 19
Chapter 2 What Type of PC Should I Build?p. 23
Interrogating Yourself on Your Computer Needsp. 23
Answering Your Computer-Needs Questionsp. 25
Getting Your Hands on the Special Stuffp. 30
Picking Up the Partsp. 36
Part II Building Your PCp. 43
Chapter 3 Building the Foundation: Your Case and Motherboardp. 45
A Case Is Not Just a Boxp. 46
Your Best Friend Is Your Motherboardp. 54
Grab Your Screwdriver and Install That Motherboardp. 57
I Laugh at Pesky Wires!p. 60
Chapter 4 A Bag of Chips: Adding RAM and Your CPUp. 65
FYI about CPUsp. 66
Your Monster Needs a Brainp. 68
Add RAM Until the Mixture Thickensp. 73
Time to Meet Your Bus Slotsp. 76
Fire That Puppy Up!p. 78
Chapter 5 The Three PC Senses: Your Ports, Mouse, and Keyboardp. 81
Pursuing Your Port Preferencesp. 82
Of Keyboards, Mice, and Men (And Women)p. 87
Installing a Port Adapter Cardp. 92
Connecting Built-in Portsp. 94
Connecting Your Keyboard and Pointing Thingp. 95
Check It Once, and Check It Twice!p. 96
Chapter 6 Images 'R Us: Adding Video and Your Monitorp. 97
I'm Okay, You're a Video Cardp. 98
Staking Out Your Visual Territoryp. 107
Installing a Video Adapter Cardp. 114
Connecting a Built-in Video Portp. 116
Connecting Your Monitorp. 116
Hey, I Can Finally (Kind of) Boot!p. 117
Chapter 7 Make Room! Your Hard Drive and Other Storage Devicesp. 121
"Be Vewy Quiet ... I'm Hunting for Hawd Dwives!"p. 122
The Ancient Floppy Still Lives--and Whyp. 127
Don't Forget Your Controller Cardp. 128
Backing Up Your Datap. 129
Selecting a Tape Drivep. 130
Hey, You Just Removed Your Media!p. 131
Connecting Your Drive Controllerp. 134
Installing Your EIDE Hard Drivep. 135
Installing Your 31/2-inch Floppy Disk Drivep. 137
Installing Your Internal Tape Backup Drivep. 138
Setting Up Your PC and Configuring Your Hard Drivep. 139
Formatting Your Hard Drivep. 140
Part III Adding the Fun Stuffp. 143
Chapter 8 Putting the Spin on CD-ROM and DVDp. 145
Discovering the Details about CD-ROM and DVDp. 146
What You Need to Know about DVDp. 153
What You Need to Know about CD and DVD Recordersp. 155
Installing Your EIDE CD-ROM or DVD Drivep. 160
Loading Drivers and Testing Everythingp. 162
Chapter 9 Let Your PC Rock!p. 163
Sorting Out Sound Card Basicsp. 164
Uhh ... Is This Microphone On?p. 170
Speaking of Speakersp. 173
The Subwoofer: Big Dog of Computer Speakersp. 175
Putting Together Your PC Sound Systemp. 176
Chapter 10 Modems and the Call of the Internetp. 181
A Modem Primer for Real Peoplep. 182
Will That Be a Card or a Case?p. 187
Time to Face the Faxp. 188
Let Your Modem Speak!p. 191
Installing an Internal Modemp. 192
Connecting an External Serial Modemp. 193
Connecting an External USB Modemp. 194
Installing Software and Testing Your Modemp. 195
Part IV Adding the Advanced Stuffp. 197
Chapter 11 Attack of the SCSI Monsterp. 199
Do I Really Need SCSI?p. 200
Figuring Out SCSI (Or, "It Sounds So Simple!")p. 201
Your SCSI Shopping Listp. 208
Installing Your SCSI Cardp. 210
Adding an Internal SCSI Devicep. 211
Connecting an External SCSI Devicep. 212
Installing Software and Testing Your SCSI Adapterp. 213
Troubleshooting Your SCSI Devicesp. 214
Chapter 12 So You Want to Add a LAN?p. 215
Adding the Network Advantagep. 216
Deciding Which Network Architecture Is Best for Youp. 218
Collecting What You Need for an Ethernet Networkp. 223
There Are Always Exceptions!p. 227
Installing Your Network Interface Cardp. 230
Connecting a Coaxial Cablep. 231
Connecting a Twisted Pair Cablep. 232
Turning Things Onp. 232
Chapter 13 Life in the Fast Lane with Broadbandp. 235
Figuring Out Whether You Need Broadbandp. 236
Comparing Communications Technologiesp. 237
Figuring Out Those Connection Chargesp. 240
Locating an Internet Service Providerp. 241
Chapter 14 Input and Output: Scanners, Cameras, Video Capture, and Printersp. 243
The Wide, Wonderful World of Scannersp. 244
Digital Camera Detailsp. 251
Digital Video Capture: Its Time Has Comep. 254
One Word: Printers, Printers, Printers!p. 255
Installing a Scanner or Printer with a Parallel Port Interfacep. 260
Installing a Scanner, Capture Device, or Printer with a USB Connectionp. 261
Chapter 15 Other Power User Play Toysp. 263
Live, Via Satellite: The Internet!p. 264
Reading a Pesky Macintosh Diskp. 268
Conversing with Quakep. 268
Even People like You and Me Need Internet Securityp. 269
Hey, I Can Get TV and FM Radio on My PC!p. 270
Store Digital Data the Old-Fashioned Way--On Paperp. 271
Backing Up to the Webp. 273
Will You Move the Joystick, or Will It Move You?p. 273
Part V The Part of Tensp. 275
Chapter 16 Ten Reasons Not to Buy a Retail PCp. 277
It Just Plain Costs Less to Build Your Own PC!p. 278
Recycle Used and Scavenged Hardwarep. 278
Avoid the Monster Mythp. 279
Encourage Freedom of Choice!p. 279
Enjoy the Learning Experiencep. 280
Spare Yourself the Shipping and Repair Hasslesp. 280
Dodge Bundled Software Costs and Get What You Wantp. 281
Avoid the Computer Sales Experiencep. 281
Select the Brands That You Preferp. 282
Get the Full Warranty for Each Partp. 282
Chapter 17 Ten Tools and Tasks for a Power User's PCp. 283
Forget Your Mousep. 284
Guard That Power Supply!p. 284
Back Up, Back Up, Back Upp. 285
Diagnostics Software to the Rescuep. 286
Stick Your Keyboard in a Drawer!p. 286
Stop the Spread of Virusesp. 287
Organize Your Softwarep. 288
Use the Power of Your Voicep. 288
Everyone Needs a Good Image Editorp. 289
Keep It Clean!p. 289
Chapter 18 Ten Important Assembly Tipsp. 291
Read the Instructions First! (Rule Number One)p. 291
Build the Perfect Workspacep. 292
Keep Track of UTOs (Unidentified Tiny Objects)p. 292
Make Sure That You Have Everything You Needp. 293
Yell for Help If Necessaryp. 293
Use a Magnetic Screwdriverp. 294
Start Your Own Parts Boxp. 294
Take Your Time: The Zen of Assemblyp. 295
Don't Cover Up Too Quicklyp. 295
The Cable Rule: Check and Double-Checkp. 296
Chapter 19 Ten Ways to Speed Up Your PCp. 297
Defragment Your Hard Drivep. 297
Get SCSI (Speed Demons Love SCSI)p. 298
Install More RAMp. 298
Crank Up the CPU Steamp. 298
Keep Your Backgrounds Plainp. 299
Install a Fast CD-ROM or DVD Drivep. 299
Remove Resident Programsp. 300
Accelerate Windows with Your Video Cardp. 301
Use a Native File Systemp. 301
Don't Forget That Turbo Button!p. 302
Chapter 20 Ten Things to Avoid Like the Plaguep. 303
It's "Refurbished" for a Reasonp. 304
Looking for an Antique? Buy a Pentium II CPUp. 304
Never Depend on Floppiesp. 305
Help Stamp Out Unnecessary Passwords!p. 306
Honor Thy Friend's Copyrightp. 306
Your PC Is Not a Kindergartenp. 306
Don't Jump on the Pirate Shipp. 307
Keep Out of Monitors and Power Suppliesp. 307
Don't Lease a PC for the Long Haulp. 308
Keep Track of Version Numbersp. 308
Part VI Appendixesp. 309
Appendix A Choosing Your Operating Systemp. 311
Become Your Own Consultant!p. 311
"But, Wait--I Collect Operating Systems!"p. 313
DOS: The Old Workhorse Lives Onp. 314
OS/2 Warp: The Original 32-Bit Wonderp. 315
Windows 95/98/Me: Thanks for the Memoriesp. 317
Windows 2000: Microsoft's First Stringp. 317
Windows XP: The King of the Hillp. 319
Linux: It's Not Just for Techno-nerds!p. 322
Before You Install Your Operating Systemp. 324
Appendix B Glossaryp. 327
Indexp. 341