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Absolute Beginner's Guide to PC Upgrades

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Absolute Beginner's Guide to PC Upgrades


  • Sorry, this book is no longer in print.
Not for Sale


  • Copyright 2000
  • Dimensions: 7-3/8" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 592
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-2417-0
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-2417-5

Even if you've never opened the case on your PC, the Absolute Beginner's Guide to PC Upgrades will show you how you can add hardware components, upgrade peripherals, and keep current on new version of your operating system and applications. This book tells you what you really need to know about trouble-free upgrading of computer hardware and software. The most common/popular/need-to-do upgrades are covered, such as improving your Internet connectivity, adding more memory, and storage, in a clear, straightforward manner that is both informative and entertaining. TJ Lee and Lee Hudspeth show you how to get the most bang for your hard-earned bucks, from the core upgrades that you need to keep your computer from miring down in obsolesce to the upgrades you may not have considered but should.

Sample Content

Table of Contents


Do You Need This Book? How This Book Is Organized. Conventions Used in This Book.


1. Deciding to Upgrade.

An Upgradable Appliance. The Cost of Upgrading.

Total Upgrade Costs. Determining the Correct Upgrade.

Buying Upgrade Components.

Mail Order on the Internet. Brick-and-Mortar Superstores. Local System Integrator. Auction, Swap Meet, or Person-to-Person.

2. Preparing for an Upgrade.

Finding Out What's Inside. Using Our Excel Workbook to Inventory Your.

PC Inventory Form: General Information. PC Inventory Form: Column Headings. SiSoft Sandra: A System Analysis Tool.

Current Components.

PC Model. Case. CPU. Processor Socket/Slot. L1 Cache. L2 Cache. System Bus (MHz). Motherboard. Chipset. BIOS. BIOS Plug and Play. RAM. Hard Drive #1 and Hard Drive. Floppy Drive. SCSI Controller. SCSI BIOS. PCI Bus. CD-ROM Drive. CD-R/CD-RW Drive. DVD Drive. Zip Drive. Tape Drive. Other Removable Media Drive. Modem. Monitor. Video Card. Sound Card. Speakers. Keyboard. Mouse. Network Interface Card. Printer. Scanner. Operating System. Slots 1-8. PC Card Slots 1-2. IDE Bus.

Manufacturer Information.

Finding Manufacturers. Tracking Upgrades Automatically.

Free IRQs. Available Peripheral Slots.

Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP). Extended ISA (EISA). i.Link/FireWire (IEEE-1394). ISA (Industry Standard Architecture). Micro Channel Architecture (MCA). PC Card. PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect). Universal Serial Bus (USB). VESA Local Bus.

An Upgrade Checklist. Online Shopping Tips.

3. Things You Need.

A Proper Work Area.

Moving the Computer. Clearing the Clutter. Importance of Good Lighting and Ventilation. Disconnecting the.

Cleaning the. Note, Map, and Label.

Mapping the Layout. Noting All Connections. Writing Down the Steps.

Working Inside the System Case.

No Jewelry. Keep Track of Parts. No Food or Drinks. No Fast Moves. Static Electricity and What to Do About.

Required Tools.

The System Journal. Screwdrivers. Nutdrivers. Flashlight. Cable Ties. PC Toolkits. Splitters and Converters. Tools Checklist.

Breaking Down Your Computer.


4. Upgrading the BIOS.

Reasons to Upgrade.

What Is It I'm Upgrading Exactly? And Why Do I Upgrade It?

Your Current BIOS.

Help, I've Got a Clone Motherboard. Manufacturer and Version Number. Record All Current CMOS Settings.

Performing the BIOS Upgrade.

Peripheral Card BIOS Upgrades. Step by Step-BIOS Chip. Step by Step-Flash. Inherent Risks in BIOS Upgrades.

5. RAM.

Memory Upgrade Payoff.

Motherboard Form Factor. Memory Speed Ratings.

Types of Memory.


Adding Memory Modules.

On the Mixing of Metals. Where to Get Memory. Installing Memory Modules.

6. CPU and Motherboard Upgrades.

Preliminary Upgrade Checklist. Caveats and Admonishments.

What You're Getting Into. Just the CPU or the Whole Motherboard? Is Upgrade the Right Decision?

Motherboard Design Decisions.

Form Factors. Options on Board. CPU Sockets and Slots.

The Mammoth Motherboard Upgrade Checklist.

Upgrading the CPU Checklist. Pre-Motherboard Upgrade Checklist. Motherboard Upgrade Checklist.

Making the Upgraded System Operational.

Restarting the Computer. Restarting the Windows Operating System.

7. Upgrading the Hard Disk.


EIDE Controller. IDE Cable. Get the Jump on Jumpers.

SCSI Drives.

SCSI Adapter Card. SCSI ID Settings. Daisy-Chaining SCSI Devices.

External Hard Drives (USB/FireWire).

USB External Drives. FireWire External Drives.

Installing an Internal Hard Drive.

Handling Tips for Any Drive. Mounting Brackets and Screws. Ribbon Cables and Pin. Power Connection Cylinders, Heads, Sectors, and Mode. Hard Drive Installation Checklist. FDISK and Formatting the New Drive. Partition Tricks.

Moving into a New Drive.

Cloning the Original Information. Drive Cloning.

Floppy Drive Replacements.

8. Upgrading an Internet Connection.

Dial-Up Connections. High-Speed Connections. Cable.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). DirecPC.

Order and Installation Checklist. Measuring Your True Connection Speed. Protecting Your PC with a Personal Firewall.

ZoneAlarm 2.0.

9. Adding a Network.

Network Architectures.

Direct Cable Connection. Ethernet Networking. Phone-Line Networking. Power-Line Networking. Wireless Networking. Conclusion.

Creating Your Network. Windows and Internet Connection Sharing. Online Resources.


10. Adding Power Protection.

Determining Your Power Protection Needs.

Clean Versus Dirty Power. Grounding Is Essential. Power Company Problems. Protecting All Entry Points into Your PC.

Surge Suppressors.

Why Surges Occur. Surge Suppressor Limitations.

Uninterruptible Power Supply.

Conditioned Line Power. Battery Backup. Orderly System Shutdown. Choosing a UPS. Installing a UPS.

11. Adding USB Compatibility.

The Universal Serial Bus. Adding a USB Host Controller. Online Resources.


12. Monitor and Graphic Card Upgrades.

Selecting a CRT Monitor.

Resolution. Mask and the Dot Pitch. Displayable Screen Size. Refresh and Scan Rates. Footprint.

The Facts About LCD Monitors.

Resolution. Mask and the Dot Pitch. Displayable Screen Size. Refresh and Scan Rates. Footprint. Unique LCD Issues.

Installing a Monitor.

Unpacking and Positioning the Monitor. Adjusting the Image. Connecting the Monitor to the PC.

Two Monitors Better Than One? Troubleshooting Monitor Problems. Upgrading Graphics Adapters.

PCI Versus AGP. 2D Versus 3D Versus Combo Cards. Video Memory.

Installing a Graphics Card. Troubleshooting Graphics Card Problems.

13. Printer Upgrades.

General Considerations.

Resolution and Speed. Paper Stock and Envelopes. Memory. Connection. Consumables. Color.

Laser Printers. LED Printers. Inkjet Printers. Printer/Copier/Fax/Scanner Devices. Troubleshooting Printer Upgrades.

Unpacking and Setting Up. Cables. Drivers.

14. Speaker Upgrades.

How Do Humans Hear? How Roomy Is Your Listening Room? What Do You Listen To? Match Your Speakers and Your Sound Card. Setting a Budget. Online Resources.


15. Adding a CD-Recordable or CD-Rewritable Drive.

Burning Your Own CDs. Selecting a Drive. Speed. Data Buffer.


Flash Memory for Firmware Upgrades.

Supported CD Storage Formats. CD Recording and Related Software. Writes to Standard CD-R and CD-RW Formats.

Installing a CD-R/RW Drive. Carrying Your Virtual PC Wherever You Go. Booting Your Computer from a CD.

Controlling the Boot Device. Creating the Boot CD. What Else to Put on the CD.

Online Resources.

16. Adding a DVD Drive.

Digital Versatile Disc.

Data Versus Video. Decoding MPEG Video. DVD Upgrade Kits. DVD Standards and Compatibility.

Writable DVD.


Installing a DVD Drive. Has DVD's Time Come?

17. Adding Removable Storage.

Removable Media Primer. Installing a Removable Media Drive. Case Study: The Iomega Zip 250 USB.

Iomega Click of Death Syndrome.

Online Resources.

18. Adding a Tape Drive.

Considering a Tape Drive's Features.

Format. Data Throughput. Internal Versus External. Bus Types. Tape Capacity.

Installing the Tape Drive.

External Tape Drives. Internal EIDE Tape Drives. Internal SCSI Tape Drives.

Testing the Tape Drive.

19. Adding a Scanner.

Considering a Scanner's Features.

Scanner Types. Interface. Resolution. Color Depth. Optical Density. Core Technology. Software. Document Feeders. Nonpaper Sources. Footprint.

Installing the Scanner. Testing the Scanner. Online Resources.


20. Upgrading Your Operating System.

Installing Clean Versus on Top. Operating System Upgrade Checklist.

Upgrading from Windows 95 to Windows 98. Upgrading from Windows 95/98 to Windows 2000.

Cleaning Up a Hard Drive. Online Resources.

21. Upgrading Your Applications: Strategies and Advice.

Application Upgrade Strategy.

Finding the Version Number. Keeping Track of Upgrades.

Downloading Programs and Patches.

Downloading and Running. Finding Upgrades. Archiving the Files. Record All Upgrades.

Using System Recovery Tools.

Manual Registry Rollback. Windows Me System Restore. Third-Party Utilities for Rolling Back.

22. Managing Disk Partitions.

Partition Terminology. Installing PartitionMagic and BootMagic. Case Studies.

Cloning a Known-Good Bootable Partition and Hiding It. Cloning a Known-Good Bootable Partition and Using It. Implementing a Data-Only Partition.

Additional PartitionMagic Tools. Online Resources.

23. Troubleshooting Hardware and Software Problems.

System Triage.

Hardware or Software? General Software Troubleshooting Procedures. General Hardware Troubleshooting Procedures.

Studying Your System Journal for Clues. Common Problems and How to Fix Them.

Out of Memory Errors. Intermittent Lockups or Sudden Restarts. IRQ Conflicts. I/O Address Conflicts. DMA Channel Conflicts. Adapter Card Problems. Printer Won't Print. Hard Disk Problems. Misbehaving Device Driver.

Troubleshooting with Windows Troubleshooting Wizards. Restoring Your Registry.

24. Dealing with Technical Support.

Know Thy Problem. Contacting Your PC and Peripheral Manufacturers.

Finding a Software or Peripheral Manufacturer.

Online Support Resources. Newsgroups and Bulletin Boards.

Newsgroups. Bulletin Boards.

Newsletters. Knowledge Bases. Friends and Colleagues. Searching the Web and Knowledge Bases Effectively. Making Phone Sense.

Appendix A. Building a PC from Scratch.

Cost Versus Having It Your Way.

Made to Order. Cherry-Picking Components. Clone Shops.

Comments on Components.

Motherboard. Chassis. Power Supply. Memory. Sound. Video. Drives.

Assembly Order. Burning In a New System.

Disk Drives. CD or DVD Drive. Display Adapter. Burn-In Utilities.

Resources for This Appendix.

Appendix B. Laptop Upgrades.

Upgrade Limitations. Upgrading with a Port Replicator or Docking Station. Online Resources.

Appendix C. PC Inventory Form.

General Information. PC Model. Case. CPU. Processor Socket/Slot. L1 Cache. L2 Cache. System Bus (MHz). Motherboard. Chipset. BIOS. BIOS Plug and Play. RAM. Hard Drive #1. Hard Drive #2. Floppy Drive. SCSI Controller. SCSI BIOS. PCI Bus. CD-ROM Drive. CD-R/CD-RW Drive. DVD Drive. Zip Drive. Tape Drive. Other Removable Media Drive. Modem. Moniton. Video Card. Sound Card. Speakers. Keyboard. Mouse. Network Interface Card. Printer. Scanner. Operating System. Slots 1-8. PC Card Slots 1-2. IDE Bus.

Appendix D. Glossary.


Submit Errata

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