How to manage cables in a pc

Computer cable management is essential for your PC to not just look good. but perform better as well. Learn how to organize computer cables and wires right here.

So why should you organize the cables inside your computer? The reasons are numerous:

    With your cables tidied and tucked away, there will be better airflow within your computer case. This lowers the temperature inside your case, prolonging the life span of your hardware in general.

Messy cables and tangled wires trap dust inside your computer. Dust clogs up your heat sinks and fans, impairing their effectiveness. This in turn leads to overheating (especially for your CPU and graphics card), which can damage or even kill your computer hardware in the long run.

  • It looks good. that’s why so many computer cases come with a window. Even if you have a monster machine loaded with state-of-the-art goodies, nobody’s going to be impressed when all they can see is a mess of cables.
  • Now let’s find out how to organize computer wires and cables inside a PC. We shall demonstrate using a basic computer case with no cable management features.

    With this computer cable management guide, you’ll be able to transform this sad-looking mess.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    . into this tame bundle of neatness (in under 20 minutes):

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Please allow us to introduce you to the humble computer cable tie (see image below). To most people it’s just a little strip of plastic but it’s quite possibly the superstar of computer cable management.

    10 cm (4 in) and 15 cm (6 in) cable ties are most suited for organizing the cables and wires inside a computer case:

    How to manage cables in a pc

    There are three general guidelines for computer cable management:

      Make sure that your cables and wires aren’t blocking any of the fans in the case (CPU fan, case fans, power supply fan etc).

    Don’t over-tighten cable ties, especially around slimmer cables such as case connectors and fan wires.

  • Cut off the excess ends of the computer cable ties that stick out. We have purposely left them uncut for this PC cable management guide so that it’s easier for you to spot them.
  • First let’s work on the power supply cables since they make up most of the mess. Tie up all the extra power cables that aren’t in use as shown in the image below:

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Once you have tied up your power supply cables, find a hiding place to tuck them away from sight. The extra space next to your 3.5″ drive bays (outlined in yellow below) often makes a perfect hiding spot:

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Next let’s draw our attention to the computer case connectors. Since these cables tend to be quite long, it’s a good idea to tie them along several points:

    How to manage cables in a pc

    To hold your computer cables and wires in place (and to prevent them from blocking any fans inside the case), you can simply fasten them to any open screw holes with cable ties:

    Computer cable management is essential for your PC to not just look good. but perform better as well. Learn how to organize computer cables and wires right here.

    So why should you organize the cables inside your computer? The reasons are numerous:

      With your cables tidied and tucked away, there will be better airflow within your computer case. This lowers the temperature inside your case, prolonging the life span of your hardware in general.

    Messy cables and tangled wires trap dust inside your computer. Dust clogs up your heat sinks and fans, impairing their effectiveness. This in turn leads to overheating (especially for your CPU and graphics card), which can damage or even kill your computer hardware in the long run.

  • It looks good. that’s why so many computer cases come with a window. Even if you have a monster machine loaded with state-of-the-art goodies, nobody’s going to be impressed when all they can see is a mess of cables.
  • Now let’s find out how to organize computer wires and cables inside a PC. We shall demonstrate using a basic computer case with no cable management features.

    With this computer cable management guide, you’ll be able to transform this sad-looking mess.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    . into this tame bundle of neatness (in under 20 minutes):

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Please allow us to introduce you to the humble computer cable tie (see image below). To most people it’s just a little strip of plastic but it’s quite possibly the superstar of computer cable management.

    10 cm (4 in) and 15 cm (6 in) cable ties are most suited for organizing the cables and wires inside a computer case:

    How to manage cables in a pc

    There are three general guidelines for computer cable management:

      Make sure that your cables and wires aren’t blocking any of the fans in the case (CPU fan, case fans, power supply fan etc).

    Don’t over-tighten cable ties, especially around slimmer cables such as case connectors and fan wires.

  • Cut off the excess ends of the computer cable ties that stick out. We have purposely left them uncut for this PC cable management guide so that it’s easier for you to spot them.
  • First let’s work on the power supply cables since they make up most of the mess. Tie up all the extra power cables that aren’t in use as shown in the image below:

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Once you have tied up your power supply cables, find a hiding place to tuck them away from sight. The extra space next to your 3.5″ drive bays (outlined in yellow below) often makes a perfect hiding spot:

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Next let’s draw our attention to the computer case connectors. Since these cables tend to be quite long, it’s a good idea to tie them along several points:

    How to manage cables in a pc

    To hold your computer cables and wires in place (and to prevent them from blocking any fans inside the case), you can simply fasten them to any open screw holes with cable ties:

    I’ve been gaming for over 25 years. Now I play and write about it full-time. Have a question? Feel free to ask it in the comment section.

    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.

    Ian Paul is a freelance writer with over a decade of experiencing writing about tech. In addition to writing for How-To Geek, he regularly contributes to PCWorld as a critic, feature writer, reporter, deal hunter, and columnist. His work has also appeared online at The Washington Post, ABC News, MSNBC, Reuters, Macworld, Yahoo Tech, Tech.co, TechHive, The Huffington Post, and Lifewire. His articles are regularly syndicated across numerous IDG sites including CIO, Computerworld, GameStar, Macworld UK, Tech Advisor, and TechConnect. Read more.

    No one wants a tangle of cords inside their PC case. Proper cable management may seem superfluous, and after spending hours building a PC, it feels like the last thing you want to do. In the long run, however, proper cable management can go a long way to a better overall experience.

    Why Cable Management Matters

    Proper cable management won’t necessarily help keep your PC cooler, since most mid-sized cases have a good amount of extra space. Only in the most extreme cases, where cables are somehow blocking fans or vents, would it make a difference.

    But cable management is about more than just temperatures.

    First of all, a PC build is never completely finished. There will always be a new GPU or CPU that you want, an extra storage drive to add, a better cooler, more RAM, and RGB lighting strips to make it really pop.

    Once you’ve built your PC, you might be cracking open your case more often than you realize, and pushing your way through a tangle of cords will make these times harder and far less enjoyable.

    On top of that, you can’t hide your laziness anymore. It used to be that, after building a PC, you could just close the case and forget about what it looked like inside. These days, most PC cases come with at least one transparent side. They help you show off your components and accent your build with some well-chosen accessories.

    If you don’t properly manage your cables, however, all you’ll end up with is an eyesore that you have to look at every day.

    Now that we’ve presented you with reasons to keep those cables clean and tidy, here are some tips to help you do just that.

    Buy a Cable Management-Friendly Case

    Before you buy your case, take a peek at what kind of cable management help it offers. Does it have, for example, cable routing channels around the back of the case? What about points where you can tie down the cables—or any other feature, such as NZXT’s massive cable management bar, that helps make things easier?

    Cable management is, of course, not the primary issue that you want to consider when buying a PC case, but it should be in the mix to create an optimal build.

    Get a Semi-Modular or Fully Modular PSU

    Part of proper cable management is not only organizing the cables you do have, but also reducing the number of cables in your case. That’s why it’s a good idea to pick up a semi-modular or modular power supply unit (PSU). The difference between these two is that the semi-modular PSU has a few essential cables that aren’t removable, while every cable in a fully modular PSU can be removed.

    Either one will work, as the cables in a semi-modular PSU almost always have to be there anyway. A non-modular PSU, however, means having to stuff a ton of unused cables somewhere in an already crowded case.

    Part of the deal with modular PSUs, however, is that you can’t forget to add the cables you need before putting the PSU in your case. Once it’s mounted with screws, adding a slew of cables becomes a real pain. It’s better to do it in plain view outside of the case rather than in some hidden, dark corner of your new case.

    Pay Attention to the Route of Each and Every Cable

    As you go about building your PC, pay close attention to where every cable goes. The ideal is to have each cable show as little as possible on the front of the motherboard. In fact, it’s sometimes a good idea to sketch out where every cable is going to travel along the back and front of the motherboard.

    The CPU fan’s power, for example, should exit from the top left of the motherboard and down the back of the case, while SATA cables will need to sneak in on the side.

    Proper planning for where every cable is going to run, and how each will tie up in the back, is a key consideration.

    Also, when the time comes to connect cables, deal with the smaller ones first before guiding the larger ones into place. Smaller cables that can be grouped together can also hide together inside some mesh sleeving, which will make them look like one large cable instead of multiple wires snaking around the back of the case.

    You Can’t Hide Everything

    There are a few key cables that you will never be able to truly hide. These include the power cable to your graphics card and the 24-pin motherboard connector. In most cases, these big, chunky cables are going to be visible no matter what, but that doesn’t mean that they have to look terrible. For the 24-pin cable, it’s mostly going to be a question of feeding it toward the back of the case as directly as possible to get it out of the way.

    For the graphics card, you can run the cable straight down the front of the case and then back along the bottom toward the rear of the case. Another alternative is to feed the cable as directly as possible toward the rear of the case. Looking at the picture above, you can see the builder opted for the latter approach and then used a Funko Pop doll so that the cable wouldn’t just be hanging there. Get creative, and you’ll find good options for making this look as nice as possible.

    Cable Ties Are Your Friend

    Finally, don’t be afraid to use as many zip ties as you need when tying up your cables in the back. Cable ties make for a nicely organized set of cables. You can overdo it, of course, but in general, tying cables together and securing them in tie-down locations provides a much cleaner look.

    Some PSUs come with ties included in the box, but you can pick up standard ones at your local hardware store. Smaller ties are preferable, as you don’t want bulky plastic getting in the way. The only thing with cable ties is that, when the time comes to cut them away to remove a cable or to add something new, you should be very careful not to slice up one of those wires (That’s where putting multiple small cables in a sleeve can really help.).

    If cable ties worry you, then consider some strategically placed Velcro straps instead—some cases come with these as well.

    Organizing and managing your PC’s internal cables is painstaking, and sometimes even annoying, work. Still, with a little patience, you’ll have an enjoyable build to work on and improve year in and year out—without having to get your hands tangled in a mess of cords every time you crack open the case.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Building a PC properly is a lot more than just simply putting in all of the components in the right places. A lot of work needs to be done to have proper PC cable management which will not only make your PC look better but will help it stay cooler.

    Cable management tips for PC vary from build to build since you will use different components and PC cases.

    Your work managing your cables will vary wildly depending on if you are using an airflow case with a lot of cutouts, a case with a lot of RGB which will add a lot of cables, or a smaller mini-ITX case that is limiting because of its size.

    Nevertheless, there are a couple of gaming PC cable management tips that apply universally, and these we will discuss today!

    Deal With the Default Case Cables First

    When dealing with PC case cable management, you want to get done with the default case cables first. The reason why this is a good tip is because once you have routed the basic case cables you will only have to worry about cables for your components and fans.

    All cases come with the usual power LED, reset button, USB 3.0, audio cable, etc. You will find them bunched up together in the front of the case so you should use the cutouts at the bottom of your case to route them to the bottom of your motherboard where they slot in.

    Getting rid of these cables will also make it easier to understand what cables need to go where, when you are routing cables from your PSU unit to the motherboard.

    Zip Ties and Velcro Straps Are Your Best Friend

    How to manage cables in a pc

    There is no better friend for you when it comes to PC cable management than zip ties and velcro straps that will allow you to clean up the backside of your case nicely.

    Most PC cases nowadays come with a couple of straps on the backside of the case to already help you a bit which is nice. These will usually help you in holding down the big cables like the 24-pin motherboard cable.

    Unfortunately in most cases, these straps are not enough to bind down all of the fan + RGB cables, all of the other SATA connectors to power your fan hub, etc. The good thing is most cases also come with a small bunch of zip ties which can help you greatly at putting away cables.

    Do not be afraid to also use the different panels and crevices at the back of your PC case for cable management since sometimes you do not even have to zip tie certain cables.

    Overall we would recommend velcro straps because these could be unbound easily, while zip ties are more of a permanent solution.

    Use Your Case Cutouts for Routing

    This is a rookie mistake that might sound stupid but that happens quite a bit. You should first inspect all of your case cutouts for routing cables before starting to route the cables themselves.

    Usually, there are 2 or 3 main cutouts for the motherboard that will help you route the 24-pin cable, SATA cables, and fan cables.

    At the same time do not neglect cutouts on top of the motherboard and the bottom of the case. Always try to hide the cables by routing them from the backside and just plug them into the motherboard through the designated cutout.

    Different cases have different routing cutouts as well so before starting your process it is better to inspect the case overall than route some cables and realize you could’ve done a better job.

    Modular Power Supplies

    A big component of your PC cable management experience will be routing the cables from your power supply to your motherboard. Usually, there is not much thought behind this process, but if you want to properly cable manage your PC make sure to invest in a semi-modular or modular PSU.

    While functionally these are no different than a regular PSU, the modularity of these units will allow you to take out the power cables that are not necessary for your build, effectively eliminating clutter.

    Moreover, a great tip for when you get a modular power supply is to plug in your cables in the motherboard first, and only plug the cables into the PSU unit itself at the end. This will allow you to manage excess cable length better and will allow you to bundle up some of the longer cables with zip ties effectively.

    A modular power supply will make your life a lot easier when managing your cables so always try to get one.

    Why Go Through the Hassle?

    After reading all of this you might think that maybe just squeezing all of the cables together and sitting down on your back panel to close it sounds better.

    There are also functional reasons why PC cable management is so important besides just purely aesthetic purposes.

    As mentioned previously, properly managed cables will not interfere with the cooling of your system and will allow your components to breathe easier. Besides better cooling, if you ever have to swap an SSD or an HDD out, doing so while all of your cables are neatly tucked away is a lot easier.

    Having to figure out which SATA connector goes where and which SATA power cables you need to use will make your job significantly harder, therefore spending an extra 30 minutes while building the PC to make sure that all your cables are accessible is a wise investment.

    Conclusions

    PC case cable management might not be the most exciting of experiences but there are many benefits to it.

    These simple tips we have talked about might look quite obvious but are quite useful when you start building a PC and realize how many cables you have to deal with.

    Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile. Read more.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    If you looked under your desk and finally got fed up with the mess of cables underneath, here’s how to organize that mess and get your cables under control.

    Most of the time, you probably don’t care how all of your cables look in the first place. After all, they’re hidden under your desk where no one will see them anyway. But the moment you need to unplug something, you finally realize just what kind of chaos lives down there. Thankfully, you can do something about it—all it takes is a little bit of time and attention.

    Step One: Unplug Everything

    How to manage cables in a pc

    It’s best to start from scratch, which means unplugging everything from the power strip and separating all the cables.

    You can stop right there if you want to, but you can also unplug everything from the other end and completely throw all the cables off to the side for a completely clean slate. This makes things a bit easier, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

    Step Two: Mount the Power Strip to the Desk or Wall

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Perhaps the most important step is finding the best place to mount the power strip, because all of your cables will converge to that one point.

    Since I have a standing desk that can move up and down, the best place to mount the power strip is on the underside of the desk, that way it’s mostly hidden and it moves with the desk whenever I switch it to standing or sitting mode. This also allows all of the cables to remain static whenever I adjust the desk’s height.

    However, my desk surface is only about an inch thick. If yours is the same, you’ll want to make sure to use short screws that won’t pierce through, as well as use a piece of tape on the drill bit so that you don’t drill all the way through the desk surface when drilling the pilot holes.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    However, if you have a regular desk, you could just mount it to the wall. The goal here is to get the power strip off of the floor and into a more ideal location so that all of your cables aren’t dangling all the way down to the floor.

    As for actually mounting the power strip, most (if not all) units have holes on the back where you can slide screw heads into them to secure them to a surface.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    To mount it, you would simply measure the distance between the holes, copy that to the desk or wall surface, and drive in screws, leaving them sticking out just a bit so that you can slide the power strip on.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    After that, line up the power strip’s holes with the screws and slide it in place. If it’s still pretty lose, tighten the screws down a bit until you finally get a snug fit from your power strip.

    Step Three: Wrap Cables Up and Plug Them In

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Next, you’ll want to shorten all of the cables as much as you can so that they’re not dangling and causing an unsightly mess. There are a couple of ways to do this.

    You can either use velcro straps (like the ones pictured above) or zip ties. Zip ties are easier and quicker to work with, but they’re also more permanent. You have to cut them off and use another one if you ever want to change things around in the future.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    To shorten cables, you can be as neat with it as you want, either bunching up the excess and wrapping a tie around it, or carefully looping the cables and then securing them, as shown above.

    Either way, the goal here is to consolidate all of the excess cable that’s hanging down and hide it the best you can.

    Step Four: Label Each Cable (Optional)

    How to manage cables in a pc

    If you find yourself constantly unplugging and plugging things into your power strip, it might be a good idea to label each cable so that you don’t have to trace them all back every time.

    To do this, I like to use masking tape and wrap it around the cable to create a tag of sorts. From there, take your favorite Sharpie and write on the tag what the cable goes to.

    Again, this step is optional, but it could save you some headache in the future.

    Use a System That Works For You

    How to manage cables in a pc

    In the end, there’s not one single system that works for everyone, mostly because every desk setup is different and each person has their own definition of what’s organized.

    For instance, you could just get one of these cable management under-desk trays and throw everything on that to hide your cable mess, and it would ultimately be quicker and easier. However, if you don’t like tangled cords period, then you might want to take some extra time to separate everything and create clear paths for each cable.

    Overall, don’t be shy to use this guide as a starting point and modify it to fit your own situation. What worked for me may not work for someone else, and vice versa.

    Affiliate Disclosure: When you purchase products through our links, we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Desk cable management is like cleaning your room. It’s a hassle in the moment but feels damn near therapeutic once you’re done. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as vacuuming and putting stuff away. You’ll need a plan of attack and at least a few hours set aside to properly hide all your wires.

    We’ve condensed everything you need to know about desk cable management into a simple 5-step guide. Follow it to completion and you’ll feel a joy you never knew you needed.

    Step 1: Start from Scratch

    If you’re starting with a brand new setup, perfect. If not, this is your chance to start over with a clean slate. Disconnect your peripherals from your PC and everything from your surge protector, then proceed.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Step 2: Position Your Power

    A key piece to your desk cable management puzzle is the position of your power strip. Our natural tendency is to just hook it up to the closest power outlet and start plugging things in. But when you position your surge protector strategically, you set yourself up for a much easier cable management experience.

    Assess your situation and decide which of these three positions will work for you:

    A) Underside of Desk

    This is usually the most ideal spot. By mounting your surge protector underneath your desk, all of your power cables can route away from view behind one of the best pieces of cover at your disposal, your desktop.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    All you need is some strong double-sided tape to make this happen, but don’t mount anything just yet. You’ll want everything laid out before you make any permanent decisions.

    This level of organization will melt your stress away.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Our friend Marie Kondo has taught us that we should only keep things that #sparkjoy — and I’m sure that your annoying headphone wires that always get tangled don’t exactly scream “joy.”

    But don’t toss those headphones just yet! Kondo also taught us that everything can be easily maintained as along as every item has its own home. That means those jumbled mess of wires, whether they’re attached to headphones or stuffed behind your TV, should all have homes to stay nice and neat (and save your sanity).

    These 15 cord management products will keep your wires neat and make you feel a little more zen every day. And couldn’t we all use that?

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Best for: Headphone wires

    There’s a reason this gear tie was our top selling stocking stuffer during the holidays: It’s pretty much indestructible thanks to its bendable design and rubber exterior. It can be twisted, tied, reused and it’s water-resistant.

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Best for: USB management

    Flower power indeed! This adorable charging station comes with four USB ports so you can charge all of your tech at the same time (and do it in style).

    How to manage cables in a pc

    Best for: Office use

    This compact mini station tidies up all the loose cords on your desk. Its brilliant design keeps cords snugly tucked in so they won’t slide onto the ground when unplugged.