Inside Your PC: Cable Management

Inside Your PC: Cable Management

A Tangled Web Of Wires

If you know your way around a computer,  you may have been unlucky enough to open one up and witness one of the most neglected area of PC construction, interior cable management.  Not only does poor routing of cables look ugly, it can cause air flow problems leading to excess heat and dust build up inside your computer.  As these are things you really don’t want in your PC, now is the time to pop the hood and take a look inside to ensure it’s organized efficiently.

New To Computers?

Are you new to opening up PC’s?  If you are not familiar with how to build a PC please DO NOT attempt to reroute cables as suggested.  If you have opened your PC and see a mess and want it taken care of, contact your local trusted geek to do this for you.  If you ask to hire them, they should be more than willing to give it a go.

Components To Organize

There are three large factors into how easily you can organize the cables inside a PC case:

  1. Case size
  2. Number of components/how many cables they use
  3. Number of extra cables to hide

For my PC, I have a number of components all within a Mid-Tower ATX Case.  My current PC contains the following parts that need power or data cables connected to it:

  • Motherboard
  • Processor Fan
  • Graphics Card
  • 3 x 2.5″ Solid State Drives(SSD’s)
  • CD/DVD RW Combo Drive
  • Power Supply Unit(PSU), (Non-modular)
  • Modular PSU’s allow you to remove cables that are not needed giving you more space inside your case.  However, the price difference can be substantial.  I opted to save money and have a standard PSU.
  • 3 x 120mm Fans
  • Case Input/Output
  • e-SATA
  • Power/Reset Buttons
  • HDD Activity Light
  • Mic In
  • Stereo Line Out
  • 2 x USB 2.0 Ports (Single cable to the motherboard)

Although these are not necessarily a large number of parts for a single computer, having a standard (non-modular) PSU causes some space issues as I have to make space for all the unused cables.

Organization Tools

There are may ways to go about securing and organizing all of your cables.  These can include zip ties, twist ties, Velcro straps, etc. I opted for Velcro straps as they are reusable, easy to work with and was able to find a pack of 100 for around 6$ on Amazon.com.  No matter what method you use be sure they can withstand elevated temperatures and will not cause electrical short-circuits if they fall out of place.

How To

Each computer and case is different so there is no one size fits all approach.  However there are three main things to keep in mind:

  1. Air Flow – Cable routing should maximize air flow.  Any obstructions can slow air creating increased dust deposits and trap warm air in your case.
  2. Excess Cable Storage – If you do not have a modular PSU, you want to ensure you have room to relocate any unused cables.
  3. Part Replacement –  You don’t want to make it difficult to replace a component due to failure or upgrade by having to undue all your cable organization at a later point in time.   With that said, ensuring excess cables are stored safely and securely should take priority over making part replacement easy.

If you keep these things in mind, you should end up with a workable organization of all the wires inside your PC.

To help even further I have included a gallery below of my PC’s cable management.  I hope it gives you some creative ideas on how to do this on your own.

Gallery

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One thought on “Inside Your PC: Cable Management

  1. Looking at this a few years later, I could sure do a better job. I need to reorganize my office space in the near future, so I think I will do a follow up to this.

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