Build Your Own Pentium III PC

Build Your Own Pentium III PC is a big fat book that is intended to put into a single reference source all the information anyone would need about what to buy, and how to stick it all together to make a computer.

At $49.95 such a book could represent serious savings to a would-be computer owner on a tight budget. That's the theory, anyway; sadly, this 637-page tome fails to make the grade on several fronts.

Large portions of the book can only be described as shameless padding: for example, pages 430 to 538 have nothing to do with the job in hand. Worse, after an exhaustive and high-quality breakdown of the components a purchaser will need, the author skimps on the actual "meat and potatoes" of his book's title, instead repeatedly retreating into entreaties to read the paperwork that comes with the components. The book completely ignores the most difficult task of assembly, i.e., getting the machine to recognise the CD-ROM drive so that the operating system can be installed. However, plenty of space is given for long tracts about voice recognition software and cordless mice.

The book shows signs of being a patchily updated version of an earlier text, referring to 1997 as being in the future and addressing questions about USB peripherals that have been old hat for well over a year. As a final nail in the coffin for Australian readers, all prices are in US dollars and all contact details are localised for US residents.

Bottom line? Not a bad book for someone who wants a general grounding in computer components, but if you intend using this work for reference while assembling a computer, keep your rabbit's foot handy.

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