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Old 04-11-2005, 06:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Good Source of Hardware Info for Novices/Intermediates?


I recently took a job as a sales associate at a small computer hardware outlet-type store ( if you'd like to get an idea of our stock), and am interested in increasing my knowledge of common hardware and accessories. It's my first experience in retail.

I know the basics. I've maintained my family's systems for the last several years with the help of my more adept friend. I'm capable of doing the majority of my own simple maintenance and upgrades. But on the whole, my knowledge is pretty superficial; I'm a casual hobbyist.

I was wondering if there were any simply written resources out there (internet preferred, but books are good too) that I could study to help me gain a deeper understanding of common hardware. I realize that the industry moves very quickly when it comes to the development of new technologies, but once you understand in detail how a computer works, I'd fathom that these things come a lot easier.

I'd say I'm looking for something just a little more complex than "For Dummies" quality of writing. Something with plenty of explanation and definitions along the way. So far, I've just been looking up things I'm unfamiliar with on Wikipedia, and going from there. It works, but it's an encyclopaedia-- there isn't much of a logical progression of subjects.

Some specific areas I'd like to focus on are processors, motherboards, and networking. But I could use a little bit of everything. As a reference, hey, I know what an IDE cable is... I can identify DX 9.0 video cards. And I know that new Prescotts only work with socket 775 mobos. But ask me to contrast motherboards based on FSB speeds, or what the practical difference between a Celeron and P4 is, and I'm pretty clueless. (L2 cache size? Sure. But then, what does that really mean?) When it comes to networking, about all I can do is point you in the direction of the CAT-5, routers, and ethernet cards.

Any advice you could provide me with would be much appreciated. Thanks for your time!

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Old 04-11-2005, 07:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default <--good place

or if you have any questions techforums is great (you are already here!) just post questions in the hardware section!

Welcome to TF

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Old 04-11-2005, 07:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I hope you got your reading glasses handy.

I don't know where to start, but there are many great websites for this kinda of information. You just gotta do some reading.....experiment...ask questions.....experience is by far the best teacher there is. Here's a website you may find handy....

Also, just look around these forums...use the search menu, and read till your heart is content, but like I said...experience is the best thing there is. Also, is also your best friend. Welcome to "our" world.

Oh yea, and not to scare you or anything but I suggest you read this aswell.

Edit: Bah, hygor you beat me to it...I was trying to remember the URL to that last link I gave....I suggest you read may find it humorous....I certianly did.
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Old 04-12-2005, 01:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ah, my thread appears to have been relocated. I thought it might receive more views in "Computer Hardware Zone" (as opposed to Off Topic Discussion), but wasn't sure that it would be wholly appropriate. Thank you to the moderator who moved it.

Anyway, thanks for the replies, fellows. Tom's Hardware was recommended to me by my friend, as well. I'm having a little trouble figuring out how to navigate it, though.... It seems to be very good at explaining the features of new products, and contrasting them with others. But what about a categorical listing of general information? I go to "PCs & Howto" and click on a subject, and it just brings me to a list of articles/product reviews. Or is this how you suggest I go about studying?

Also, are there any additional resources that those of you new to this thread would suggest?

Thanks again!
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Old 04-12-2005, 01:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Okay welcome to the forums, it's great to have another Canadian

For general PC knowledge their's 2 places to go to, places like tech-forums and Upgrading and Repairing PC's 16th edition by que

What that book doesnt answer, is easily found on the forums

Your switches are under the wrong catagory
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Old 04-12-2005, 01:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks DJC, I'll look into that book.

As for the site error, I'll pass the information along-- I don't know the webmaster personally, though. Apparently, we're also selling 16x DVD-Rs (as opposed to +Rs), which I've been informed don't yet exist. ;P
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Old 04-12-2005, 02:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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from looking at your post up at the top, you know a good bit, more than me (which isnt saying much i suppose)

you learn a lot from just reading other posts and threads, or at least i have

i hope you get what you're looking for
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Old 04-13-2005, 06:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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That book looks quite good, thanks for mentioning it. I checked out a couple of the .pdf chapter samples, and the text seems informative without being overly complex.

I walked into my local book store today, and found a copy-- but I couldn't get the same 30%-off reduction in-store that I can online, so it looks like I'll have to wait for it.
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Old 04-13-2005, 07:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Upgrading and Repairing PC's is a great source of information. It certainly won't be a quick read though. :P
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Old 04-13-2005, 07:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If you really, really want to learn a lot about the ins and outs of hardware, I highly suggest reading xtremesystems. These guys know the jist of just about everything and you can intake a lot of information there very quickly, as well as asking your own questions and learning.

Intel C2D E6320 / AMD Athlon X2 3800+
Gigabyte 965P DS3 / DFI nF4 Ultra-D
2GB OCZ Gold PC2-6400 / 2GB OCZ Gold PC4000
eVGA 8800GTS 320MB / eVGA 6800GS 256MB
150GB Raptor / 74GB Raptor
2x500GB / 320GB
OCZ GameXStreme 850w / OCZ StealthXStream 600w
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