[GUIDE] Tech Tips: Cable Management Guide 101

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  1. #1
    A hard working geek :-) Sardaukar is offline
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    [GUIDE] Tech Tips: Cable Management Guide 101


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    Welcome to Cable Management 101
    Goal: To assist computer enthusiasts in how to best manage your wires, promote better air flow, lower temperatures and add a much cleaner and more professional look to the inside of your computer case.




    Choose Your Case!

    * There are -many- types of computer cases out there, from server grade 1u/2u rackmounts, HTPC media servers, mini's, mid-tower, full tower, and up to super tower's. Out of the dozens of different builds I have done with my own personal money, I can recommend a few fine points in what choices you should look for to get the best bang for the buck, and to help you attain that professional looking computer build you are looking for.

    Recommendations:
    * The primary thing I look at with current cases is cooling. What type of cooling system is the case best utilizing? Is it built for water cooling (HAF Series)? Does it take advantage of large air cooling fans (XClio Series)? Is it sound deadened (Antec P-180/280)? You have to answer many of your own personal questions on what YOU want to build your case around. Over the years I have gone from every size of case (Excluding Super Towers.. those are just to massive), and have since begun to prefer mid tower chassis types. They offer the right amount of room, a good minimum of cable organization, and can optimally use either water, or air cooling.

    * The second thing I ALWAYS look for, is how much room is available behind the motherboard tray. For all cable management, 90% of your wire routing should travel behind the motherboard tray.. the more room you have between the tray space and the back panel means the easier time you will have routing/hiding cables. Some newer cases utilize as much as 30mm+ of wiggle room.. that is immense!


    The PSU!

    * In Cable Management, a Modular PSU is an absolute necessity! If you are running a standard non-modular PSU, the best job you can do is bundle everything together and hope no one notices the wad of cables all over the bottom fo your case.

    After you have all of your computer components gathered up, now is when you can begin formulating a plan to begin your cable management





    Needed Tools/Equipment:

    Zip Ties (Lots of them! Preferably Black, or a color to add taste to your build (Green/Red/Yellow)
    Screwdriver
    Scissors/Wire Cutters/Side Cutters
    Ingenuity and Patience (Very important, a good wire routing session can last several hours at minimum.. if you get frustrated often, you may decide it's best to not try excessive cable management.)

    Helpful Links:
    FrozenCPU - They provide all brands of sleeving and cable management, as well as anything you need for silent computing.
    FrozenCPU.com | 1.877.243.8266 | World's Largest Selection of PC Modification Supplies
    Xoxide - Another great company whom I have ordered through many times, they provide fantastic sleeving kits to brush up the glamour of your case.
    http://www.xoxide.com/sleevingkits.html



    Now that you have the absolute basics, I will post my documented build, and describe how I did what I did. And the reasons behind my choices of cable management routes.







    Currently I have been sporting the CoolerMaster Storm Scout case, it features a tinted side view window, several 120mm/140mm fan slots.. as well as a good width of room behind the motherboard for routing any wires I may have to hide. It also features a large handle that is reinforced with steel connected direcly to the case, VERY sturdy, and makes moving the computer case an absolute breeze using a single hand.

    I went ahead and began removing all of my PC components, as I had my computer running in the office for several years with only a bare minmum of cleaning. If you are going to open up a used case and begin modding/managing it, this is your chance to finally pull all the components out and start cleaning things!






    In these two pictures, you can see I have removed all side panels, the front panel, and have begun removing the various hard drives and misc wires hanging around. Every piece I pull out, I wipe down with a damp paper towel and simple green (Sprayed directly on the paper towel, NOT on the component!)



    After removing ALL PC components, and cleaning up all the extra dust from the fan intakes, I am left with a clean project:



    If you notice the front panel - I modded the panel itself to accept two fans on the front, and had to reverse the entire tinted plexiglass in its mount to prevent a whistling noise from installing high static pressure fans. If you own this particular case and are interested in anything I have done, feel free to PM me with any inquiries!






    The reason I began this project! Newegg FTW!





    The part I didnt document was actually installing the motherboard and cooler fans. This is a very basic part of a build, and shouldn't need to be documented, as this is for cable management, and not a dedicated computer build. I begin taking pictures as I begin my cable management.








    For the first session of cable management, I had 2x 4 pin PWM fan plugs at the top of my motherboard, and each Cougar fan has about a full 16" of wire length, which is fantastic for a tower/super tower build.. but a slight bit excessive for a standard mid tower. To suck up extra length, the goal is to wing the wire around the fan itself before you mount it, and use Zip Ties in the empte holes of the fan to hold the wwire in place. Rotate the fan while doing this until you have it mounted, and only have a few inches of slack left to make it to your 3/4motherboard pin.




    In this picture, you can see 2x 4pin PWM fan plugs, and the 8 pin motherboard Molex. I ziptied the two 4 pin's together after shortening their length by 'winding' them around the fan, while the 8 pin molex extension I ran underneath each of the cougar fans and ziptied it to keep it up off the motherboard.




    Success! Completely hidden from view as allowed, and promotes fantastic air flow between my Corsair H70, and the top mounted single Cougar.




    After figuring out the length needed to get to the corner 4 pin PWM plug, I pushed the 16" length of cable from the fan, behidn the motherboard tray, and rerouted it back through to the front right before the hard drive bay. Don't mind the mess of cables to the upper right, those are the standard case cables - which always make a mess.



    After spending about 10 minutes getting my H70 mounted, I determined I did not need the 2x 4 pin PWM plugs that is has available, I wanted completel control of my fan setup through the motherboard itself.. so my only option was to find a way to completely hide the cable itself.






    This may look liek a mess, but with a very dilligent use of many zip ties, and using the same color as the tubing wrap, I was able to route the entire extra cable along the water tube. And after clipping the zip ties, arranging it so the stubs were behidn the cable, it looks like this:








    Success, Again! Looks completely stock, no visible wires - and promotes fantastic airflow throughout the immediate region. The absolute goal of good cable management is to make it look clean, and to let any air to flow where its path is, without being disturbed by the cables.







    Routed the 24 pin cable through the side/back of the motherboard/hard drive tray, this is the single hardest cable to route, my case doesn't have enough room behind the full motherboard tray to route it - so I am forced to run it up along the hard drive bay while securing it with zip ties.

    Also have connected all the molex plugs on the bottom half of the motherboard, all USB, HD Audio, and Power/Reset/Activity pins. These were all routed behidn the motherboard tray, and before routing them, I physically took teh cables and bent them at a sharp angle so when they are plugged in, they immediatly get angled off towards the back of the motherboard slot.





    The back of the motherboard tray. Due to every case in existance having OBSCENELY long USB/HD Audio plugs, you are forced to route them in odd patterns to take up extra slack. Utilizing the back of the tray, and all the extra pin outs for zip ties - you can route it in such a way that all the extra slack is taken up, and you are able to completely hide all of it from the front of the case.





    Plugged the GPU back into its PCIE slot, and ran the pwoer for it. One of the drawbacks of a midtower, again, s that some power cables you can't route. The GPU being one of them, as well as the 24 pin, and sometimes a CD/DVD Sata Power Cable. Tie them off as best as you can, This is just an example of how you can do it. Some cases have much better access for routing cables and those can be pushed behind the motherboard tray with plenty of room in excess.




    Seeing as this is just a guide, many people will have differing opinions on what a computer cable management system should compose of. I prefer spending several hours and taking my time doing this, as it keeps your computer case uncluttered, keeps the air flowing.. and in many cases, makes it extremely easy to blow/dust the case off every few months to keep it in top operating condition.
    Take these pictures and use them for a guide on how you wish to route your own cables.. do whatever you can to take advantage of tie downs, zip ties and behind the case space, if you are having a hard time routing cables.. post a picture of it and reply in this thread - there are many of us here who would be more then happy to give you opinions on what can be done to optimize your computer case.
    Last edited by Sardaukar; 26-04-12 at 06:30 PM.
    AMD FX-8350 8 Cores (4.3+GHz)
    Asus Sabertooth 990fx Motherboard
    MSI Gaming N770GTX 2GB
    Samsung 40" 240htz SlimLED Monitor
    Logitech G35 Headset + Logitech Z-5500 5.1
    Samsung EVO 256gb SSD + 128gb Kingston SSD V+100
    2x 1TB WD Black Edition Caviar Sata II, 7200 RPM
    16GB DDR3 PC3 14900 G.Skill Sniper Series
    750W Rosewill HIVE Modular PSU


  2. #2
    Omega Alfons is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Wire Management 101

    You're building a new rig ?

    What kind of hardware are we looking at ?

  3. #3
    A hard working geek :-) Sardaukar is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Wire Management 101

    An AMD Athlon x2, LANParty nForce 4, and a GeForce 4 Ti4200 128mb GPU. Going to be shweet!
    AMD FX-8350 8 Cores (4.3+GHz)
    Asus Sabertooth 990fx Motherboard
    MSI Gaming N770GTX 2GB
    Samsung 40" 240htz SlimLED Monitor
    Logitech G35 Headset + Logitech Z-5500 5.1
    Samsung EVO 256gb SSD + 128gb Kingston SSD V+100
    2x 1TB WD Black Edition Caviar Sata II, 7200 RPM
    16GB DDR3 PC3 14900 G.Skill Sniper Series
    750W Rosewill HIVE Modular PSU

  4. #4
    Omega Alfons is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Wire Management 101

    Ahhh I misread. I thought this was a personal new build.

  5. #5
    A hard working geek :-) Sardaukar is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Cable Management 101

    Its about half of a new computer.. roughly $400 in new parts. Was a great time for me to finally show people how to manage their cable's in a computer case.. pretty long writeup, getting it written up in notepad and will put out a version 1.0 fairly soon ;)
    AMD FX-8350 8 Cores (4.3+GHz)
    Asus Sabertooth 990fx Motherboard
    MSI Gaming N770GTX 2GB
    Samsung 40" 240htz SlimLED Monitor
    Logitech G35 Headset + Logitech Z-5500 5.1
    Samsung EVO 256gb SSD + 128gb Kingston SSD V+100
    2x 1TB WD Black Edition Caviar Sata II, 7200 RPM
    16GB DDR3 PC3 14900 G.Skill Sniper Series
    750W Rosewill HIVE Modular PSU

  6. #6
    Omega Alfons is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Cable Management 101

    Which new parts did you get then ?

  7. #7
    A hard working geek :-) Sardaukar is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Cable Management Guide 101

    Asus Sabertooth 990FX Motherboard, 2x 2x4gb G.Skill Sniper Series DDR3 1866MHz memory (16gb total), and a Corsair H70 Water Cooler. :-) just updated my post, btw ;)
    AMD FX-8350 8 Cores (4.3+GHz)
    Asus Sabertooth 990fx Motherboard
    MSI Gaming N770GTX 2GB
    Samsung 40" 240htz SlimLED Monitor
    Logitech G35 Headset + Logitech Z-5500 5.1
    Samsung EVO 256gb SSD + 128gb Kingston SSD V+100
    2x 1TB WD Black Edition Caviar Sata II, 7200 RPM
    16GB DDR3 PC3 14900 G.Skill Sniper Series
    750W Rosewill HIVE Modular PSU

  8. #8
    Omega Alfons is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Cable Management Guide 101

    Looking sexy!

    I'm sure the guide will come in handy for people that are fairly new to building pc's

  9. #9
    A hard working geek :-) Sardaukar is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Cable Management Guide 101

    Quote Originally Posted by Alfons View Post
    Looking sexy!

    I'm sure the guide will come in handy for people that are fairly new to building pc's
    Yep! Guide for the new guys! :-) Although, I've personally seen some 'vets' that have horrible cable management skills.. makes me shudder with some of the messes I have seen behind the front panel ;)
    AMD FX-8350 8 Cores (4.3+GHz)
    Asus Sabertooth 990fx Motherboard
    MSI Gaming N770GTX 2GB
    Samsung 40" 240htz SlimLED Monitor
    Logitech G35 Headset + Logitech Z-5500 5.1
    Samsung EVO 256gb SSD + 128gb Kingston SSD V+100
    2x 1TB WD Black Edition Caviar Sata II, 7200 RPM
    16GB DDR3 PC3 14900 G.Skill Sniper Series
    750W Rosewill HIVE Modular PSU

  10. #10
    Omega Alfons is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Cable Management Guide 101

    Quote Originally Posted by Sardaukar View Post
    Yep! Guide for the new guys! :-) Although, I've personally seen some 'vets' that have horrible cable management skills.. makes me shudder with some of the messes I have seen behind the front panel ;)
    I don't think it really comes down to skill when you're doing cable management. It's the effort and time you put into doing it. Most people can't be bothered with it and don't even care haha.

  11. #11
    pork pork Parker is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Cable Management Guide 101

    Nice tutorial, subscribing for future.

    I brought a bang for buck case but it didn't come with a lot of space behind the motherboard, and when I found that was a feature of some cases I was annoyed that I didn't do a lot of searching.

    When I did my first build pretty much everything went wrong, I only limited amount of money and I forgot to buy a ODD, I brought the cheapest biggest fans with with all tacky LEDs in them. I brought a Thermaltake V3 case which included a PSU (no complaints on the PSU), the case is alright just not much cable management options behind the motherboard so most of the stuff goes in the bottom section in the bottom two spots and last of all the HSU is a Blue Orb II which is ridiculously massive (but it was free as a promtional thing with my TTV3) and when I want to change RAM I have to remove the HSU :sigh:

    Next build if I do one will be a lot better and cleaner. What I noticed on your motherboard is your SATA ports pointing out, man that would come in handy a lot and is probably a feature that'll consider when doing my next build.

    I didn't bother with cable management on my build haha

    I brought some of those rigged cable sleeves like on your H70 so just waiting for that to come and I'll give it a try.

    Warning: photo is 1mb in size & is an eyesore - this is my before shot, now I'll just wait for those sleeves and I can post an after shot ;)




  12. #12
    A hard working geek :-) Sardaukar is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Cable Management Guide 101

    What I may recommend, is just grabbing the entire handful of cables, and putting 3 or 4 or 5 zip ties right around the middle of it. While it may be an 'eye sore' still, it will unclutter the entire chunk of that. a quick 10 minutes of work and it will look much much better!
    AMD FX-8350 8 Cores (4.3+GHz)
    Asus Sabertooth 990fx Motherboard
    MSI Gaming N770GTX 2GB
    Samsung 40" 240htz SlimLED Monitor
    Logitech G35 Headset + Logitech Z-5500 5.1
    Samsung EVO 256gb SSD + 128gb Kingston SSD V+100
    2x 1TB WD Black Edition Caviar Sata II, 7200 RPM
    16GB DDR3 PC3 14900 G.Skill Sniper Series
    750W Rosewill HIVE Modular PSU

  13. #13
    ˌ Ron is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Cable Management Guide 101

    Know of any good place to purchase cable jackets at? I don't think I saw any last time I went to frys.
    RF-Dev Team

  14. #14
    A hard working geek :-) Sardaukar is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Cable Management Guide 101

    Last time I ordered mine, were at FrozenCPU.. Sleeving/Heatshrink - FrozenCPU.com
    Last edited by Junkers; 24-04-12 at 04:42 PM. Reason: fixing your tags ;)
    AMD FX-8350 8 Cores (4.3+GHz)
    Asus Sabertooth 990fx Motherboard
    MSI Gaming N770GTX 2GB
    Samsung 40" 240htz SlimLED Monitor
    Logitech G35 Headset + Logitech Z-5500 5.1
    Samsung EVO 256gb SSD + 128gb Kingston SSD V+100
    2x 1TB WD Black Edition Caviar Sata II, 7200 RPM
    16GB DDR3 PC3 14900 G.Skill Sniper Series
    750W Rosewill HIVE Modular PSU

  15. #15
    ˌ Ron is offline
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    Re: Computer Build: Cable Management Guide 101

    Very nice, thanks for the link.
    RF-Dev Team




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