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5 tips for optimal PC cable management

The inside of a gaming PC case with RGB lighting.
Alberto Garcia Guillen / Shutterstock.com

Nobody wants a tangle of cords in their PC case. Good cable management may seem redundant, and after hours of building a PC, this feels like the last thing you want to do. However, in the long run, good cable management can go a long way towards a better overall experience.

Why cable management is important

Good cable management doesn̵

7;t necessarily help keep your PC cooler, as most mid-sized cases have a lot of extra space. Only in the most extreme cases, where cables somehow block fans or vents, would it make a difference.

But cable management is about more than just temperatures.

First of all, a PC build is never completely finished. There will always be a new GPU or CPU you want, an extra storage drive to add, a better cooler, more RAM and RGB lighting strips to really make it pop.

Once you build your PC, you may crack open your case more often than you think, and working your way through a tangle of cords makes these times more difficult and far less enjoyable.

Moreover, you can no longer hide your laziness. In the past, after building a PC, you could just close the case and forget what it looked like on the inside. Today, most PC cases have at least one transparent side. They help you show off your components and accent your build with some well-chosen accessories.

However, if you don’t manage your cables properly, you will only end up with an eyesore that you have to look at every day.

Now that we’ve given you reasons to keep those cables clean and tidy, here are some tips to help you with that.

Buy a cable management-friendly case

Close-up of a Corsair PC case with rubber grommets for cable entry.
This Corsair case contains rubber grommets to pass cables through. Corsair

Before purchasing your case, check out the cable management assistance it offers. For example, does it have cable routing channels around the back of the case? How about points where you can tie the cables – or some other feature, like NZXT’s massive cable management bar, that helps make things easier?

Of course, cable management isn’t the primary issue to consider when buying a PC case, but it has to be in the mix to create an optimal build.

Buy a semi-modular or fully modular PSU

A power supply that stands on its side with a tangle of cables behind it.
md-pictures / Shutterstock.com,

Part of good cable management is not only organizing the cables you have, but also reducing the number of cables in your case. That’s why it’s a good idea to buy a semi-modular or modular power supply unit (PSU). The difference between the two is that the semi-modular PSU has some essential cables that are not removable, while any cable can be removed in a fully modular PSU.

Both will work, as the cables in a semi-modular PSU should almost always be there anyway. However, a non-modular PSU means you have to put a bunch of unused cables in an already overcrowded case somewhere.

Part of the deal with modular PSUs, however, is that you can’t forget to add the cables you need before putting the PSU in your case. Once attached with screws, adding a whole bunch of cables becomes a chore. It is better to put it in plain sight outside the case rather than in a hidden dark corner of your new case.

RELATED: How important is the power supply (PSU) when building a PC?

Note the route of each cable

When building your PC, pay close attention to where each cable goes. The ideal is to show each cable as little as possible at the front of the motherboard. In fact, sometimes it’s a good idea to outline where each cable will go along the front and back of the motherboard.

For example, power from the CPU fan should come out on the top left of the motherboard and down the back of the case, while SATA cables should sneak in on the side.

Proper planning for where each cable will go and how each cable will be attached in the back is an important consideration.

When it comes time to hook up cables, deal with the smaller ones first before running the larger ones in place. Smaller cables that can be grouped can also be hidden together in a mesh sleeve, making them look like one large cable instead of having multiple wires wrapped around the back of the case.

You cannot hide everything

The inside of a desktop PC with two Funko Pop dolls in the sleeve.
Ian Paul

There are a few important cables you will never really be able to hide. These include the power cable to your graphics card and the 24-pin motherboard connector. In most cases, these big, chunky cables will be visible anyway, but that doesn’t mean they have to look awful. For the 24-pin cable, it is usually a matter of routing it as directly as possible to the back of the case to get it out of the way.

For the graphics card, you can run the cable straight down the front of the case and then back down the bottom to the back of the case. Another alternative is to route the cable to the back of the housing as directly as possible. If you look at the photo above, you can see that the builder took the latter approach and then used a Funko Pop-pop so the cable wouldn’t just hang there. Be creative and you will find good options for making this look the best you can get.

Cable ties are your friend

Bad, messy cable management in a PC case.
NAR studio / Shutterstock.com

Finally, don’t be afraid to use as many cable ties as you need when tying your cables at the back. Cable ties provide a neatly organized set of cables. You can overdo it, of course, but generally tying cables together and securing them in tie-down locations makes for a much cleaner look.

Some PSUs come with cable ties in the box, but you can pick up standard wires from your local hardware store. Smaller ties are preferred because you don’t want thick plastic to get in the way. The only thing with cable ties is that when it comes time to cut them away to remove a cable or add something new, you have to be very careful not to cut one of those wires (that’s where you get several small cables. in a sleeve). can really help.).

If you’re concerned about zip ties, consider some strategically placed Velcro straps instead – in some cases, these are provided too.

Organizing and managing your PC’s internal cables is a laborious and sometimes tedious job. But with a little patience, you’ll have an enjoyable build to work on and improve year after year – without getting your hands in a tangled mess of cords every time you break open the case.

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