When people start using computers, it soon becomes clear to them that there is a huge amount to learn. Of course, the Internet can be a great resource, but a reference book like PC Performance can be more helpful in coming to grips with the technology. It covers most areas of computers, from the technical side of how a CPU works to installing RAM and tweaking Windows settings to get better performance.
As the title suggests, the book focuses on PC systems - in particular, Windows 98. A disappointment is that the book doesn't make any mention of Windows XP - despite a 2002 publication date and the fact that many books on Windows XP have already hit the shelves. Linux users, meanwhile, will benefit from the hardware discussions, but will need to look elsewhere for tweaking their operating systems.
Another annoyance is that the review copy of the book had a strong US focus, particularly in the important area of voltage and power supply. Overall, the book is not visually appealing and the black and white photographs are frequently washed out, making it difficult to work out which parts are being discussed.
PC Performance is better suited as a general textbook than a hands-on guide. Despite its shortcomings and high price, it will still be helpful to users who want to understand the esoteric worlds of IRQ assignments, buses, advanced BIOS settings and more.