Introduction: Guide to Computer Cable Management
When you build your own gaming rig or have a computer with a side window so you can look inside and admire the amount of work and money that you have invested into your computer, why not make it look like it was build by professional?
I built my own computer a few months ago and cable management was thought of before i ordered a single part.
Common cable management techniques are cable shortening, lengthening, color changing, and sleeving.
[unfortunately I cannot show everything because some things were already finished, I took my computer apart and put it back together again for this instructable]
[this is not to put a computer togethor or how to choose the right parts]
PLEASE FORGIVE MY DYSLEXIA
Step 1: How NOT to Do It
These pictures severally piss me off because they are $250+ cases that have rat nests in them.
WHY PEOPLE WHY!!!!! Such good cases ruined by ignorance and stupidity
Step 2: What to Buy
The 2 main things that determine how well you can hide all of your cords and wires are your computer case and your power supply.
When choosing a case check for openings around where the motherboard will be placed, generally the more openings there are the better. Cooler Master cases are widely known for excellent cable management and for high air flow. Also the room behind the motherboard mounting plate the better because you can stuff more cords behind that plate.
Personally I chose a Cooler Master HAF 912 because it only cost $60 and with all the components I ordered to put in my rig, I was just barely getting into quadrupal digits on my build. Later I bought an optional side window for it from Cooler Masters website. Another reason I chose this particular case was the easy to remove front plate were I could hide yet more wires.
The second thing is the power supply (PSU), normally you want something with high quality nylon braiding or wires that are of you color preference that has detachable PCI-E and peripheral SATA/molex cables because there is no need for more cables than you actually need. Keep in mind that a PSU can last you for your next build or maybe even the build after that given that cable standards don't change by then, so choose something that suits what you would like do with it in the future. I chose a Raidmax 850W PSU with detachable cords that can handle SLI and it wasn't as expensive as a Corsair
Other small things you will need are:
-zip ties [they are the standard but more permanent than other solutions]
-twisty ties [like you use on produce bags in grocery store, they are easy to use over and over again]
-spare wire of assorted colors
-gorilla duct tape [looks good and hides cables that are behind motherboard mounting plate, plus it can hold cables in awkward places]
You can also buy extensions but they get pricey fast.
Step 3: Where to Start
First dissemble your case by taking off both side panels and the front panel [if you can, it helps to hide more things under it].
If you are building a computer from scratch or took you computer apart to redo it then the second step would be to put your PSU and motherboard into the case. If you have a lot of fans that need to be installed than it might be better to install those first but unlug the molex adapters, those will go in later.
Find a place to hide all the fan molex plugs, I decided to attach them to an easy to remove 2.5" to 3.5" adapter that came with my case and hide them in the bottom HDD cage
Step 4: Starting Fishing the Cords Were You Want Them
Title says it all, start putting all the wires through the holes you want them in and plug them in.
Its best to start with really large cords like the 24-pin motherboard power, PCI-E, SATA power, molex, etc.
Step 5: Lengthening and Modifying Cords
I had 3 fans that needed to reach to molex down in the HDD cage so i attached 3 of them together and ended up making my own molex adapter to save wire and space. Unfortunately i ran out of heat shrink so used twist caps, when i have the cash ill do it it right.
In the other picture there is a light on/off switch connected to a molex and a and a connector. Unfortunately I didn't have my electrical box on me or I would include the lights in this instructable, I will add them later.
Step 6: Making Everything Look Neat and Tighty
This part is hard to put into words because everyone has there own idea of what the finished product should look like. Personally I like the natural flow look where everything looks even.
Step 7: Covering the Holes
Ill admit that i got the general idea for this on someone else's instructable, but they used pieces of rubber which I cant afford so I used gorilla tape instead.
its a simple process that looks good in your case and hides cords behind them
i forgot to show the large bottom piece, but its the same thing.
Step 8: Finishing the Molex Hider Cage
Step 9: Installing the SATA Cords
SATA cords get in the way of the build so its best to put them in last
Step 10: Put in the Video Card
Video cards are huge and its best to put them in last.
Step 11: What I Would Do With More Time and Money
If I had the dough i would like to get a really nice case like Zalman Fatility, Thermaltake Level 10GT, or I would convince Maingear to sell me one of their custom cases. I certainly wouldn't use duct tape for most of my build if I had the cash and I would definitely spend some time making my own cords and extensions.
What do the pros do differently? They paint the insides of their cases, use extensions and add a few flashy things that take the eyes off of cords like bright liquid cooling items, flashy reservoirs and a logo that really stands out.
I would like to stick a show stopper GPU in it like an asus ROG MARS II, an ROG z68 mo-bo, a PCI SSD, liquid cooling and other things but i only have $300 to my name so this are all very distant dreams ='[
If anyone wanted to know my specs:
Intel i5-2500k Sandybridge
Asus GTX 480
Gigabyte z68x-ud3p-b3 mo-bo
2x 4gig [8gigs] matched G-Skill DDR3 Ripjaw ram
Crucial M4 64gig SSD boot drive
1Tb WD HDD
Raidmax 850W PSU
Zalman CPU cooler
Asus optical DVD-RW drive
IC Diamond 7 thermal compound
Cooler Master HAF 912 with window
6 120mm case fans
RAT 5 gaming mouse
12" cold cathode red lights