Cable Management Guide
I'm sure that we all have a mess of wires inside of our computer case
at sometime or another. Personally I like to try and keep my case looking nice
and clean, it gives it more of a professional look to it. So we are going to
take a look into a case and see how we can make it look clean and professional.
Well first of all, here is a picture of the computer we are going to organize.
This computer was made in an Ultra Products E-Torque case - it has one hard drive, one
dvd drive, and one floppy drive. The case layout looks like the following without the system installed:
With our system installed you can see the cable routing is less than optimal. If we leave the cables this way the system will build up heat due to poor airflow, additionally since the E-Torque has a window in the side panel the inside of the case will appear messy.
Many of you will find that your computer cables are in need of some cleaning up. It has wires
laying all over the place, and for most people this is fine. If your computer
does not have a window, then cable management isn't a necessity, but as mentioned earlier it will help improve airflow and will make working inside the case much easier in the future. If you
do have a window, however, it will give the inside a more appealing look.
Before we start trying to clean this up I'm going to give a few hints
and pointers on how to easily clean up a mess like this.
- Wire Ties! These things are awesome. If there is just a clump of wires sitting
around, put a wire tie on them. For just an easy concept it works wonders. If
there are wires you want to be held against a bar, then take one and wrap it
around the bar. Wire ties are very cheap and can be found at just about any
- Hide wires behind the rear panel because there is nothing going on back there.
You may have a window if you have a case mod, though this is rare. There is
about a half inch of free space between the side panel and motherboard, use
this to your advantage. Wire Ties may again be used back here to make sure the cables do not slip into the main compartment of the case.
To start trying to clean this mess up we will removing all of the cables, the first of which should be to unplug
the power cord. This includes removing all of the IDE Cables
and SATA cables for hard drive, dvd drives, floppy drive and all miscellaneous
devices you might have. Take careful notice of the Power, Reset, Speaker, and front I/O plugs as once removed finding the proper locations to put these back in can be difficult without the motherboard manual. Often times the motherboard will be labled for the proper positions of these cables. We find that taking a digital picture of critical areas such as this one can be extremely helpful in putting things back in order afterward. Remember: You can view the digital picture on the camera to reference location and positioning.
After you have removed all of cables, then unplug all
of the molex connectors, these are the power connectors that come from the power
supply. Once that is done, your computer should look pretty clean. Unfortunately,
you have to plug it all back in, so lets start by plugging in the IDE Cables.
If you already have a round IDE cord then you may skip this step.
Folding the IDE Cable:
There are ways in which you can fold your IDE Cable so that it is less noticeable
and easier to work with. First, by each plug fold it so the plug in 90 degrees
from the cord, look at the picture below for a visual aid.
After you have folded the wire, make sure there is a nice crease there so that
it won't unfold easily. Then you will fold this in half long ways so that
it looks thinner.
Next you will need to plug in the cables, when doing this try to keep the cables
torward the back of the case as much as possible, here is a picture of what
mine looked like:
(Click on the picture for a larger image)
Now continue doing this for all of your IDE Cables and try and keep them hidden
You can either do this or go to the round IDE Cable guide found here.
Plugging in the Molex Connectors:
Power supplies usually come with long cords, which is a great thing because
it allows you to plug in things at the opposite side of the case with no problem.
Sometimes they are just too long and messy. This is where hiding wires in the
side panel behind the motherboard becomes a great thing. For instance, the 4
or 6 pin connector to power the CPU (usually located at the top of the motherboard)
usually only requires a four or five inch cord, even though they give a foot
or larger to work with. This excess wire can be tucked in behind the motherboard.
You will most likely need to do this for just about every cord you use, as well
as unused cords. It is good to try and find ways of getting a power cord from
the power supply all the way to the opposite side of the case for the hard drive
or fans. There are many holes in the side panel which act as good ways to bring
wires to the front. You can take your wire from the power supply and immediately
bring it behind the motherboard, poking it out of varies holes to get to the
hardware you want. I did this twice. Once for the hard drive, and the other
for the CPU fan. Both are shown in the pictures below:
After you run all of the wires back behind the motherboard to hide them, the
excess wire on the rear side of the panel should look pretty hectic. That will
be covered up by the side panel. This is what it should look like:
As you can see in the picture above, the two wires poke back into the case to
power the hard drives and fans, and two wires sit on top of the power supply
for easy storage. This is the finished product:
Hopefully your case looks better and should be nice and clean. Make sure that
all of your wires are connected properly and that everything is secured. Once
that is done it should be safe to plug back in the power cord and then test
your system. It should boot properly. If not, then you must not have plugged
everything back in correctly and should double check it. Lets hope that the
computer is now nice and organized, and since you have already taken your computer
apart, this is a good time to physically clean all of the parts and fans. I
would recommend using canned air or anti-static wipes, both should be easy to
We would like to thank Ultra Products for the E-Torque case which has made this guide possible.