Cable Manage a PC in 13 Steps

The typical PC consists of so many cables that connect several important components. If there is one aspect to building a new PC setup that is most often overlooked, it is cable management.

It may seem like an impossible task at first but eventually, you will start to see things come together as your cable groupings begin to look more like a series of paths and less like mom’s spaghetti also good wire management can keep your PC running cooler and faster. All the cables inside your PC are mainly attracted by dust particles.

Why a Proper Cable Management is Important:

New pc builders might be wondering what the point of cable management even is? if every cable is plugged into the proper place, does it really matter how they get there?

So, our answer is Yes and No. The truth is you can ignore cable management entirely and your pc will probably run fine for years to come but there are some notable benefits of this fine art if you’re willing to put in a little time and effort.

pc cable management guide

Benefits of Neat Cabling at PC Desk:

1. Looks Clean

The first and most obvious upshot to tidying your cables is that it just looks better. Aesthetics isn’t important to everyone but having a clean system brings out a sense of pride for your build and makes it more presentable to you and any guests you have over and it’s kind of like making your bed without a frenzy of cables in the way.

2. Better Airflow

Another arguably more important benefit is improved airflow inside your system helping to lower the overall temperatures of your pc which keeps it running at its best.

3. Maintenance

From time to time, you may have to add or remove components whether you’re upgrading Your PC, expanding, or replacing hardware and, in that case, it’s way less of a headache if all your cables are organized neatly.

Tools Needed For Cable Management Of a PC:

So now that we’ve convinced you that cable management is good and worth doing, you’re going to need a few things.

  • Zip ties
  • Wire Cutter or Scissors
  • Velcro Straps

Zip ties along with something sharp like wire cutters or scissors to trim the ends once you’ve tightened them down Velcro straps also work well and using a combination of the two is never a bad idea.

Tools needed for PC Cable management

Our Recommendations For PC Cases For Cable Management

The Ultimate Step by Step Guide to Proper Cable Management:

Step 1:

Install most of the components installed before running your first cable the two parts

Left the graphics card and power supply for now.

Reason:
If your graphics card is long enough it could block access to the SATA ports or the front panel headers on your motherboard so best to leave it out for now. As for the power supply if you’re using a modular or semi-modular unit figure out which of its included cables you’ll need for your build and connect them to the PSU before installing it into your case.

Note that: If you’re using a non-modular PSU where all the wires are already fixed to the unit installed in the pc case before cable management.

Step 2:

If you’re using an all-in-one liquid cooler or AIO with a radiator and fans that you plan to mount at the front of your case you can install that from the get-go.

However, a radiator assembly that you plan to mount at the top of the chassis is best left uninstalled before you start running cables so you can easily access the connectors at the top of your motherboard and freely route any wires that need to go up there.

Pro Tip:
Also, remove both the case’s side panels and front panels so you can work freely inside the chassis.

Step 3:

A rule of thumb to keep in mind as you go about the build is that you typically want to route all cables behind the motherboard tray and through the cutout nearest to the connector, it’s going to.

Step 4:

Now you have a few options of which cables to route first but for the purpose of this guide we suggest you start by routing any cables coming from the pump block of our AIO through the nearest cutouts above the motherboard.

Remember:
If your AIO has a USB 2.0 cable which should now be behind the motherboard tray pass it through the cutout below your motherboard and plug it into the board’s USB 2.0 header.

Step 5:

Leave the pump blocks and other cables unplugged for now.

Step 6:

Moving on to the power supply, if your case doesn’t have a PSU shroud, you’ll want to route all of its cables through the large cutout next to the unit

if your case does have a shroud, that’s good news because this step is already done for you.

Step 7:

Now it’s time to tackle the two PSU cables, the CPU and the 24-pin ATX cable. Route these through the appropriate cutouts and plug them into the board.

Don’t worry about how much slack you’re giving them just yet. Then connect your SATA power cables to any two and a-half-inch or three-and-a-half-inch drive that you have installed at the bottom of your case.

Mostly the power cables have multiple connectors per cable so if your drives are close enough together you can probably wire them up with a single cable.

if you have any additional SATA devices like your AIO or an RGB controller you can wire those up now too.

Step 8:

Next, locate your front panel connectors which in most cases are already located behind the motherboard tray.

Pass them through the most optimal cutouts below or on the side of your motherboard depending on your board’s layout and wire them up.

Step 9:

Now, make a note of where each of your fan headers is located on the motherboard and decide the optimal headers to use for each fan based on their position. Route all your fan cables through their nearest cutouts and back through the motherboard tray before plugging them in.

Pro Tip:
Cases that have a built-in fan controller behind the motherboard simplify this process allowing you to route most if not all the fan cables to a single location.

Step 10:

If your AIO has a pump cable, you can connect it to any fan header on the motherboard of your fan controller, or preferably a dedicated pump header if your board has one.

If you’re using an air cooler, you’ll want to connect it heatsink fan to the CPU fan header on your motherboard which should be labeled on the PCB but check the motherboard manual if you need to.

Step 11:

Take the SATA data cables that came with your motherboard.

If your cables have one right-angle head and one flat head, it’s usually best to connect the right-angle head to your 2.5 inches and 3.5-inch drives. Pass them through the cutout closest to the board SATA connectors before plugging them in.

Step 12:

Finally, install your graphics card and pass the PCIe cables coming from your power supply through the cutout behind the card and plug them in. Most users route these cables below the GPU but you can route them from above if you prefer.

It’s also worth noting that some cases with PSU shrouds have a dedicated cutout for GPU cables for a cleaner look.

Step 13:

Give the cables your desired level of slack and zip tie any unused connector pins to keep them from flopping about. You can also fasten your GPU cables together if you’re so inclined.

Step 14:

Moment of reality

At this point, you should have everything connected and a wad of cable mayhem behind your motherboard that’s ready for some serious organization.

Follow The Steps To Cable and Manage Your PC Like a PRO!

  1. Start to lightly pull the cables apart so you can see where they’re running to and from.

  2. You’ll notice that some cables run in a more similar direction than others which means they’ll group well together with a zip tie or velcro strap.

  3. Almost all modern cases have a number of tie-down points to loop a zip tie through and fasten the cables to the chassis.

  4. After figuring out which cables group best together strap them to the tie-down points using zip ties while trying your best not to overlap too many cables.

  5. A little crossover here and there is fine but the goal is to keep things as flat against the case as possible.

  6. If you’re lucky your case might even have built-in velcro straps or cable channels to aid in the process.

  7. As you’re cinching things down be mindful of how much slack you’re allowing on the other side of the case. The cables on this side should be taut but not so much that they’re straining or pulling on any connectors.

  8. Now on the backside, it’s not uncommon for some cables to be outliers not fitting with any particular group and that’s okay. A few loose strands aren’t the end of the world just do your best.

  9. Where possible stash any excess cable length under your PSU shroud if you have one. This is considered socially acceptable cheating in the pc world.

  10. Take your time trust the process and before you know it, you’ll be sliding on that side panel with ease as the pc gods give you a firm knot of approval.

  11. Now you can take pride and joy in knowing that your PC’s cable management is just like a PRO did.

Bonus Tips For Neat Cabling:

  • Air coolers with multiple fans usually come with a splitter so you can connect all of them to that single header.
  • AIO that has a built-in splitter tied to the pump block for easy wiring and PWM control.
  • If you have a fan cable that’s not long enough to route behind the motherboard run it to the nearest fan header zip tie the excess cabling and look for hidden pockets in your case to tuck the cables out of sight if possible.
  • For AIO users mounting a radiator at the top of your case, make sure that you’ve mounted the rad fan so that the ugly sides where the cables are visible face the motherboard for a much cleaner aesthetic.
  • Bring the rat assembly close to the case so you can easily pass the fans through the cutouts above the motherboard. Pull them through from the other side if needed then mount the radiator assembly to the chassis.
  • Keep in mind that some higher-end cases have a modular radiator mounting plate at the top to make this step a bit easier next.
  • You can check your motherboard manual to ensure that you’re using the optimal ports if needed. Depending on your specific build there may be more cable devices or components not covered here but you can use the same method.

General Queries About Cable Management Of a PC

How can I hide the cables on my computer?

With proper cable management, you’ll be able to hide all cables neatly on the back of the case or behind the motherboard. Most pc cases come with a separate space for cable management.

How do you hide case fan cables?

All you have to do is just connect the fans directly to the controller. Usually, fan cables are long enough to run them behind the motherboard tray, for example, and keep your cables mostly out of sight.

How do I make my computer wires look neat?

Run the cables down from the cable hole of your desk. Wrap the long hanging cable to shorten them and place them inside the cable management try that you can mount or drill under your desk. Before squeezing the cables inside try to tie the cables with zip ties or a Velcro strap.

What is a cable binder?

Cable binders are fasteners that bundle up your cables or wires together to keep them organized and it also prevents cables from damaging. Cable binder comes in different sizes, lengths, materials, and even colors.

Can cables touch the heatsink?

Touching isn’t necessarily a problem, but not ideal at all! It can cause a “problem” if the heatsink got very hot and melted the wire insulation.

How can I hide my gaming wires?

Organize your USB cables first, then use a cable box to put all your wires in the box including the extension connected with the desktop power cable, monitor cable, and LED light’s cable(s). keep the box in a position where an electric outlet is nearby.

How do I hide my power supply cables?

Start planning your cable routing by working backward, by plugging them into your components first. Once you’ve got the cables connected wrap them to the back of the case using the closest cable grommets. Now that your cables are routed to the back of the case connect them to their respective port on the PSU now you can begin securing your cables with zip ties to keep them organized.

Do PC cases come with cables?

The case for your computer comes with all the cables required to activate its functions like speakers, audio front USB, and so on. The case will also include screws to mount it, as well as additional screws.