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How Computers Work
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Product Description

Updated to include all the recent developments to the PC and complete with a CD-ROM, the third edition of How Computers Work is like a cool science museum in a book. But make no mistake--this is not a book for children. How Computers Work aims to teach readers about all the intricacies held within the machine, and it's a daunting task. The author, Ron White, doesn't dumb down his material; instead he provides thorough and substantive definitions. The pages of fun and colorful graphics ease the tension, though, and bring the abstract concepts--the difference between RAM and ROM, for example--into real life.

The book has incredible depth, explaining everything you could want to know about your computer, with each piece of hardware being given full treatment over two to five pages. (Macintosh and UNIX users should be aware, though, that the book's model is the "Wintel," a Windows PC with an Intel microprocessor.) The book is well-structured and can easily be used as a reference resource beyond the first reading. --Jennifer Buckendorff

A classic is back in its 8th and best edition yet! How Computers Work, 8th Edition is a must-have for anyone interested in the inner-workings of computers. The full-color, detailed illustrations will take you deep inside your PC and show you just how intricate it is. This latest edition has been updated with information on all of the latest technologies, including:

  • PCI Express Bus
  • Serial ATA Connections
  • Digital Photography Software
  • TiVos, Gas Plasma Screens, iPods, and Other Home Entertainment Equipment
  • Google and eBay
  • 3D Game Development, Two-Slot Video Cards, and Overclocking
How Computers Work has sold over two million copies world wide. But don't take our word for it - get your copy today!

Customer Reviews:

  • How this book doesn't
    Hopefully some of the kinks are out of this series of books. I admit I have an earlier version. The index is usually wrong, the information scant and the overall knowledge gained minimal.

    If you like pictures you'll like this book. If you want to learn something significant - keep looking!

    The only reason I didn't give it "0" stars is because I couldn't choose "0"!...more info

  • Great book for beginners - High Level Overviews
    I use this book whenever I am explaining to a class a general overview of computer technology. The artwork and graphics are a fantastic talk point to depict how things are working inside the machine.

    Secondly, the terminology is accurate and well organized / defined.

    I'm a big fan of "For Dummies" books when giving someone a first pass of any topic. These are just a step up in complexity, in my opinion.

    ...more info
  • Excellent illustrations with text used only when necessary
    On occasion, I teach a course with a title having the form, "Introduction to Microcomputers", where the goal is to introduce students to some of the fundamentals of how computers work and what they are used for. Generally, the material that they find easiest to understand is that which can be illustrated by examples demonstrated on a computer. In second place are the concepts that are explained using high quality illustrations. That is where this book is extraordinary.
    The author and illustrator clearly put a great deal of thought and effort into the structure and appearance of the illustrations, they are the best demonstrations of computer fundamentals that I have ever seen. The publishers are also to be commended for using high quality coloring and paper, which makes the pictures very easy on the eyes, although there are a few times when the contrast between the text and figure colors is not enough to make it easy to read the text. They quite correctly let the illustrations do as much of the explaining as possible, resorting to text only when necessary.
    It is split into eight parts:

    * Boot-up process.
    * Microchips.
    * How software works.
    * Data storage.
    * Input/output devices.
    * Multimedia.
    * How the Internet works.
    * How printers work.

    covering all of the material that is the normal coverage in an introduction to microcomputers course. There are also occasional segments of glossary, where the key terms in the section are defined.
    This is a high quality book, the best introductory material on how computers work designed for the novice that I have ever seen. If study questions were included, I would start using it as a textbook.

    This review refers to the seventh edition....more info

  • Disappointed
    I was expecting another great book in this great series. This one needs an editor and proofreader. Great content, but riddled with errors (typos?) that change the meaning. Some ridiculous errors of fact too (5 1/4 floppies held 100 MB? )...more info
  • Ron White fan
    Besides the fact that I have every edition of Ron White's HOW COMPUTERS WORK, your marketing department is so effective that they have now conned me into buying two copies of the 8th Edition. I trust that this means that you will be sending me a single copy of the 9th Edition in the near future....more info
  • This book woos, wows, educates, amazes and entertains!
    Around the year 300 BCE a significant book appeared. It was titled Elements, and it contained everything the Greeks believed about geometry and mathematics. Euclid, the far-seeing author, could hardly have imagined that it would become the standard text in the field for the next two thousand years. In our time, information and technological advances move a little faster. Regretfully we acknowledge that the blazing fast desktop computer we buy at Christmas will be a tortoise by summertime, and ready for the scrapheap in two short years. To paraphrase Sam Goldwyn: Today's state-of-the-art knowledge is tomorrow's yesterday's news. That's why, every year, I treat myself to a new edition of How Computers Work. This beautiful-looking guide is one of the most compelling and information-packed computer books in print. The large and colorful illustrations (by Timothy Edward Downs and Stephen Adams) make the book a pure delight to study. Ron White's explanations, simple and direct, rise to the challenge of matching pithy words with the best in illustrative art. In 45 chapters, each one taking on a specific system of the computer, we learn the inner workings of CPUs, storage, multimedia, modems, printers, and all the other important gizmos inside and connected to, what my mother calls, "that little box that hums." Sorry, Mac users: this book is about what's known as "Wintel" computers: PCs that run Microsoft Windows and use Intel-compatible processors. Written for beginners and intermediate level users, this Millennium edition is almost one hundred pages larger than its predecessor. And it's been updated to include new technologies such as fingerprint and voice recognition, Pentium III and MMX processors, MP3 music and digital audio. Looking ahead, the book ventures to predict how the main computer components -- software, multimedia, storage, microchips, printers -- will work in the future near. If your PC has the minimum required 24 Mb RAM to run the accompanying CD-ROM, then you'll be treated to a voice-and-picture interactive tour of the PC. Watching the CD and reading the paperback, it's difficult to imagine anyone who wouldn't be wooed, wowed, educated, amazed and entertained by this exciting book.

    Michael Pastore, Reviewer...more info

  • It's about time.
    I'm a HUGE fan of "How stuff works" kinda books. This is THE book I have been looking for. It's written in such an interesting way. Personally, I feel pictures and diagrams are ESSENTIAL to understanding something thoroughly, and this book delivers and executes on that matter. If you are a visual, hands-on kinda person, then chose this book over others. It's second only to a real hands-on experience and live teacher....more info
  • Will not hesitate to buy again and again!!
    This item is a brand new book and the price is less than 1/10th of the brand new one. I recommend this company to everyone. Excellent shipment.. Thanks for a very fast service....more info
  • Great Book for people like me who know how but not why.
    I really enjoyed this book and it has been a great help to me in my work and the general use of computers. I have known how to use the computer as a tool to help me in my work, but now my work is becomming computers due to evolving system technology. I had to have a good place to start to learn just what this book offers. It is explaned very simply and easy to understand. It's a great jumping off point to get a person ready for the next step. I plan to recommend it to my co-workers since most all of us are in the same boat....more info
  • Very Good, Great introduction to the subject.
    A very good book, breaking down the concepts behind that hunk of silicon sitting on your desktop. While I'm sure there are books that go into more technical detail, this is a great intorduction to the topic....more info
  • Great Book For a Introduction
    I read this book before I really got interested in computers but when I find myself dealing with computers I have to know how something does its work. This book was great for that and this book almost felt like it was made for beginner types like me at the time. I found myself intrigued by how processors work and its pretty insane to think about to me. A lot of stuff some people don't think about I wonder about like how a computer understands what you are typing or how the monitor understands what to display or even how a computer starts up. I wouldn't say this book will make you a computer genius but it will build a better understanding for those interested in computers. My first idea about computers were they are to complicated but after reading this I find myself comfortable building my own. It gave me a better understanding of how hackers operate and like I said this book is good for those who just want a simple understanding and not have to have someone translate what its saying. Overall pretty simple and lots of pictures and very good for people who want to learn or get an idea of what is going on with computers. The one problem I had was when I finally wrapped my mind around how something worked I wanted to more but I had to look elsewhere for the answer....more info
  • Make your own call
    Rather than add to endless "This sucks!" "No it doesn't!" arguments, my review is simple - if you need an understanding of how computers work, give this book a try. THEN, and only then, make your own decision. Other people's opinions are great, but only you can determine a book's worth to you.
    ...more info
  • The best so far about technology and computers
    When i first pick this book i expect to have a book with some nice pictures about how computers works, now that i{m reading the book i have to say that i become adicted to it. Easy to understand, and very interesting topics about the different devices that computers and thecnology can bring to us explained in a very nice manner and with incredibly clear draws and diagrams. PLUS a very nice cd rom with a virtual tour inside a computer and better yet some nice links to get more info.And it doesn{t stops there, because the cd rom have some really useful SW you can use and try in your computer. It{s been a long time since the last time i pick such a nice book.Give it a try it worth each dollar you invest on it and more.
    And for the end i never write reviews so it tells how much i like this book....more info
  • Great book i agree- especially for A+ core printer section
    Great book i recommend this to anybody novice or pr...more info
  • A Completely Updated and Expanded Edition!
    Ron White has written an expanded of edition How Computers Work. The Millennium Edition offers readers a totally updated and refreshing view of computer technology that will take them into the next century. Readers are treated to new graphics, new insight into computer operations, new developments in the computer industry, and new technology to incorporate into their personal and business computing!

    This new edition of How Computers Work is a beautifully illustrated and designed book that clearly and concisely explains the overall operation of computers. Readers will learn how individual computer components work, how the Windows operating system and a number of software applications work, how various audio, graphics, and video technologies work, and how a number of essential peripheral accessories work. Readers will also pick up on some helpful information about the Y2K phenomenon.

    Readers are taken on a breath-taking journey through the operation of the bios, cache, chips, memory, ports, hard drives, CD's, diskettes, zip drives, graphics boards, sound boards, modems, monitors, mouses, joysticks, printers, surge protectors, back-up power supplies, digital cameras, scanners, and much more. White includes discussion of cutting-edge Pentium technologies and how Web browsers, e-mail, networks, virtual reality, multimedia, and data compression work.

    This book is perfect for company employees, for students who may be using computers for the first time, and beginners starting out with just an interest in computers. This book is great for classroom use and will also make a fine gift for the first-time computer buyer! It is must reading for anyone wanting to learn more about the computing scene. The CD included with the book offers a cool multimedia interactive tour no one should miss out on!...more info

  • No disk
    This book did not come with the cd that came with earlier editions....more info
  • Very good Book , with lots of illustrating pictures
    This is a very good book with lots of good pictures. It also includes a nice cd-rom. I would recommend this book if you are lokking for general information about computers....more info
  • It's ok but not worth buying.
    For general knowledge, this book is ok. However, I'm not a computer newbie and have noticed a few discrepancies regarding some information presented. When discussing how relational databases work, the author misrepresents the information on primary and foreign keys and when talking about DOS/Windows 3.1's file naming convention is also misleading. He says that the filename consists of 11 characters. He should have stated that the first part of the filename could be up to 8 characters long followed by 3 characters of the file type after the period. And that Windows 95 and later use the long file naming convention (up to 255 characters followed by a period and a 3 character file type extention.)

    It's not bad, but the author didn't thoroughly check all his facts. If you have to, take it out from your local library. ...more info
  • Great introduction to computer technology
    As somewhat of a computer geek myself, I already knew many of the concepts the book presented, but I was honestly amazed at how up-to-date the book was and how effectively it made its explanations. It's true that any level of computer user will find something they didn't know in this guide. I highly reccommend it, especially to folks who may have no idea how to use a computer - it's a good start....more info
  • Great on basics
    Very good pictures. You'll walk away with a true understanding about how computers work....more info
  • forget 'dummy' stuff...
    Read it, buy multiple copies!!! Share it, spread it around to ANYONE that uses a computer by punching the cute little buttons... This should be mandatory reading, required (like a drivers license) for ANYONE who buys a computer or is hired to do even data entry!!! I tell everyone I meet who complains they 'don't know that much about their computer'... BUY THIS BOOK! And so should YOU! I used to carry the title and ISBN with me to share with folks (really! and I may do so again after writing this review!) If you want to punch the cute little buttons... read this book FIRST. ...more info
  • Not up to my expectations
    Five stars for color. Two stars for content. Overall one star because of how disappointed I was. Have you ever watched a high tech movie where all the emphasis is placed on the special effects and none on the story line, the actual content? like Star Wars' latest or The Mummy. That's what this book is like. I couldn't get into it. I thought the book was useless, hence the one star. I don't recommend it. I did like the cd-rom though....more info