Press releases

O'Reilly Releases "A Good Opinionated Reference Work" on PC Hardware

Press release: October 12, 2000

Sebastopol, CA--O'Reilly's new release, PC Hardware in a Nutshell, is a comprehensive-and concise-guide to buying, building, upgrading, and repairing Intel-based PCs, for novices and seasoned professionals alike, presented in O'Reilly's practical, no-fluff "In a Nutshell" format.

PC Hardware in a Nutshell features buying guidelines, how-to advice on installing, configuring, and troubleshooting specific components, plus ample reference material and a complete case study on building a PC from components. In addition to coverage of the fundamentals and general tips about working on PCs, the book includes chapters focusing on motherboards, processors, memory, disks (floppies, hard drives, and optical drives), tape devices, video devices, input devices, audio components, communications, power supplies, and maintenance. The last chapter is a complete case study in building a PC from components.

"This is the only PC hardware book we know of that takes a practical approach to the tasks of buying, building, upgrading, and repairing PCs," says co-author Robert Bruce Thompson. "Throughout the book, we focus on providing useful information rather than merely interesting information. If you want to buy a PC, this book tells you what to look for-and what to look out for. If you want to build a PC, this book explains component-by-component, the key parts of a PC, describes the important characteristics of each, provides buying guidelines, lists recommended products (by brand name and model), and takes you step-by-step through building the PC. If you have an older PC, this book tells you what you need to know to upgrade it-if it makes sense to do so-as well as when it makes more sense simply to retire it to less demanding duties. Finally, if your PC breaks, this book tells you what you need to know to troubleshoot the problem and then choose and install replacement parts."

PC Hardware in a Nutshell is a compact guide, accessible to the ordinary reader and invaluable for the seasoned professional.

"I have to read books like this for a living, and this is the first one I've come across which is actually enjoyable. It contains the right amount of sensible advice and information on relevant topics without going over the top into useless detail and is, I'm sure, going to become indispensable. Highly recommended to both beginners-whom it won't bamboozle-and experienced hands, whether they're looking for information on what to buy or more detailed reference material."
--Chris Ward-Johnson, The Times (of London)

"There's not another book like this, and if you do much with computers you need a good reference work on hardware. Of course there are massively larger books on the subject, but that's just the point: most of the time you're not looking for a long essay on the subject, you need information, and reliable judgment, both of which Robert Bruce Thompson is highly-I am tempted to say uniquely-qualified to giveYou have here a well written book by someone who understands the subject. It's about computer hardware and nearly everyone needs a good opinionated reference work on that subject, provided the opinions are sound, which in Thompson's case they certainly are. It's published by O'Reilly, which means it's well edited by editors who resist the temptation to become unacknowledged collaborators. It's really the best book you'll find on this subject. And if that doesn't persuade you to buy this book, I doubt anything else I can say would."
--Jerry Pournelle, Chaos Manor

Online Resources:

PC Hardware in a Nutshell
By Robert Bruce Thompson & Barbara Fritchman Thompson
October 2000
ISBN 1-56592-599-8, 526 pages, $29.95

About O’Reilly

For over 40 years, O’Reilly has provided technology and business training, knowledge, and insight to help companies succeed. Our unique network of experts and innovators share their knowledge and expertise through the company’s SaaS-based training and learning platform. O’Reilly delivers highly topical and comprehensive technology and business learning solutions to millions of users across enterprise, consumer, and university channels. For more information, visit

Email a link to this press release