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Today we’ve got more options for our computers than ever before. With all of those cables, it’s often times difficult to know where to start. With the help of YouTuber JayzTwoCents and some of our own tips, here are some of the best tips for making your cable management look classy and clean.
1. Start With Your Case
A good case can make all the difference in the world when it comes to cable management, and we’re not simply talking about size, although having enough space for your cables is something to think about.
Rather, some cases include routing channels, velcro cable straps, increased space in the back, and other systems that make it a simpler process. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to manage the cables in your cheap case with some zip ties. However, some cases make this simple while others leave exposed wires.
On the other hand, too much hardware in a small ITX case may mean you have more cables than you know what to do with. So, for SFF builds consider what hardware you plan to use carefully.
2. Use Flat Cables
Flat cables make cords easier to manage and hide and, quite simply, use less space when grouped together. Thick braided or pre-braided cord kits may look nice but often can get in the way. So, if you’re going to go with those colored Cablemod options, be sure you pick and choose what you really need. Some power supplies come with flat cables included. So, look around if you’d prefer not purchasing a separate kit.
3. Use a Modular Power Supply
Having cables that you’re forced to hide when trying to keep everything neat is a pain. Modular or even semi-modular power supplies should allow you to use the cables you need while leaving out the cables you don’t.
4. Connect Cables to the Power Supply First
Rather than connect everything to the component and then to your power supply, consider connecting all of your cables to the power supply and leave them hanging out the back. This makes it easier to plan and layout your design.
5. Make Sure You Have Enough Space
We covered this briefly when talking about your case. However, it’s important to note that some cases, no matter the size (ITX, ATX, Full), provide you with more space to hide your cables. Removable drives also help. Check your case's specifications to know exactly what you have to work with.
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6. Plan, Group, and Pair Cables Together From the Start
Cable management can be a bit of a puzzle. Placing cords together that go to a similar location, or that you are planning to hide behind the case, is like starting with the edge pieces. It makes everything simpler.
For example, Jay likes to begin by separating cables based on use. So group the main components together, then everything else. From here, you can decide what cables will be used in what hardness and which ones can be used in other routing channels and spaces.
Fold smaller cables to make them even lengths, and use a zip tie to get them out of the way.
7. Use Zip Ties and More Zip Ties
Don’t be afraid to use a zip tie to hold cables in place that you might end up cutting later on. You can’t see everything from the beginning, so once you have the best vision for the process, go for it. Simply snip, fold, and move cables out of the way.
8. Don’t Tie Down Everything Too Early
Cords will shorten and areas will get crowded. So, make sure everything is installed before you strap too many things down in the back. If you have velcro and other systems in the back of your case, separate the cords so you know where you plan on putting them.
9. Do SATA Cables Last
The plastic tabs on hard drives can be a bit fragile. So, plug in your SATA cables last to avoid breaking any tabs. Plug in cables top to bottom starting with the left and moving to the right. Carefully flatten the cables down.
10. Rotate Zip Ties Behind
Take all of your zip ties and move them to the back side of where they’re showing. This will give them a sleeker look overall.
The Final Product
Here’s how the back of JayzTwoCents case looks after all of that cable management. Pretty impressive.
Overall, if you spend a little bit more time fixing up your case, you'll have a result that's cleaner, more efficient, and looks great.
© 2018 Brandon Hart