Computer Wire Management – Untangling A Web Of Inconvenience
Wires, cables, data lines, cords, and whatever else you might like to refer to them by. Wires and cables are a fact of life inside a computer. They connect every component to either the motherboard, or the power supply. Everywhere you look inside your case, there’re cables criss-crossing this way and that. Over each other, under each other, over fans, and across heat sinks. There’s a lot of cables!
Computer wire management is a key component in building a proper system. It’s important for the health of the computer, and equally important, it makes the entire system flat out look better. Why bother buying all these components and a cool case and put in the time and effort to build your dream PC if you can’t see anything because of all those wires zipping around everywhere?
So can you do about it? Plenty, actually. I plan to go over some basics to help you get started on your path to properly cleaning up that web of inconvenience and helping you get your case looking as amazing as it possibly can!
Why Are There So Many Cables
If you’re new to building systems, you might be surprised at the amount of cables that you end up with once you start putting the rig together. It might even overwhelm you as you try to connect all your components and get power to them while also getting them hooked up to your motherboard. This is completely normal! Don’t let the amount of cables you see bother you.
Typically, in most basic systems, a lot of your cables will be coming from your power supply, as it has to be connected to several things in order to properly power the entire rig. Graphics cards, auxiliary components, hard drives, fans, the motherboard itself, and many more all require power. Thankfully, some of these things, depending on your build, can draw power directly from the motherboard and save yourself some cable management woes.
Make sure to check your manuals for each component to double check how they’re supposed to be hooked up. Understanding where your cables and wires need to go will give you a better idea of how you’re going to organize them.
Understanding Cable Management
The concept of organizing and controlling where your cables go inside your case might seem complicated at a first glance, but in all honesty, it’s quite simple. You’re almost done building your machine, the hard part is out of the way. Cleaning up the wires is actually as simple as bundling and hiding cables away from sight. That’s it. Easy, right? Now you just need to look at your case and identify how you can best do that.
Unfortunately, I cannot give you a step by step guide here, because all cases are built slightly different, and the nooks and crannies in each build will offer different areas in which to route and hide your cables. I can, however, give you a better idea of where to look.
- Check the other panel of your computer. A lot of modern cases have back panels that come off and allow you to run cables around behind all your components.
- Check below your hard drive bays. Most computers have plenty of space below the hard drive bays to hide cables. Just make sure to not ball all of them up in one spot.
- Check for cable hooks around your case. Cases these days often times offer ridges and hooks where you can run cables to more easily organize and hide them.
- Check for any brackets or ridges to bundle cables against. Expansion bays for auxiliary components and hard drives often have brackets, holes, and ridges that you can run cables through or bundle them against.
- Check to see if your power supply comes with a shroud. Some modern power supplies have shrouds. This is an excellent way to better organize your power supply cables.
Once you’ve checked for these things, you’ll have a better understanding of how you can manage your wires. Next, you’ll need to actually do that!
Finding The Right Solutions
So you’ve mapped out how you want to organize your cables. That’s great, but now you might be thinking how. There several options you have open to you, and it all depends on how you want to approach handling the organization. Zip ties, cable ties, velcro, cable sleeves, clips, and even electrical tape are all options. You don’t even have to choose one or the other. Using a combination can sometimes be your best choice.
My personal approach is zip ties or cable ties. Both are simple and effective and all you need is a pair of clippers or scissors to cut away excess plastic when you’re done. However, these options aren’t always the best looking. A lot of system builders now also prefer to use velcro and cable sleeves. They take a little more time to set up, but in the end provide a much more visually appealing look to the final version of your rig.
Make It Look Good
As mentioned before, you don’t want to go through all the money and effort building a great machine and then have it look bad with cables running everywhere. A lot of cases these days are designed to give you an amazing view into the inside of your computer. Allowing you to see all the parts moving and to look at the eye-catching lights inside.
To this end, always make sure you’re taking a step back from your system as you organize the cables. Visualize how you want the rig to look when it’s a completed product and adjust your cables accordingly. You don’t need to get it perfect on the first try, so never be afraid to go back and adjust things as needed. Be a perfectionist! You’ll thank yourself after you put in the extra work.
A Never Ending Battle (Tying Things Up)
Computer wire management is the culmination of a battle between man and machine. Or to put it less dramatically, a necessity to harness the potential of your computer case. You want to look at it and appreciate how it looks, and you want others to think the same thing.
Cables are just a fact of life for a computer case and custom rig. You’ll never be free of them unless everything goes wireless (I don’t see this happening, just as an aside!) so you might as well organize and tuck them away as best you can. They’re just cables after all. Don’t let them get the best of you!