Cable Management for the Perfect Computer

This blog post is part of a series on my experience building the perfect computer.

This is one of the most complex, open ended parts of my build.  There are lots of solutions out there for cable management – and there is no substitution for experience to do it well.

⁠PSU Cables

⁠Custom PSU Cables

One of the customizations that has the most significant impact is having some custom PSU Cables made. While you can do these yourself, there are some subtle differences around the wiring specifications of different PSUs that made me opt to have someone else do the work.

I chose CableMod's ModMesh Pro Cables, CableMod’s ModMesh Pro Cablesand they turned out great. They have a configuration tool that has a very nice range of options – including allowing you to choose the spacing between your SATA connectors – which many others did not have. One cool feature (that wasn’t advertised very well) is that the non-black colors of cables are UV reactive⁠.

Other options for getting custom cables are MainFrame Customs, MOD-ONE, Solo Sleeving

If you choose to make them yourselves, most of the companies above will sell you all of the supplies you need, but you can also check out MDPC. Whichever you choose, one thing to make sure to track when you are having custom cables made is their diameter (in my case, my cables are 3.4mm). This is important information when comparing cable combs.

⁠Cable Combs

If you do get custom cables made, you should definitely opt to have some closed cable combs included – even if you don’t end up using them, you can always push them down out of sight. From what I have read, it is pretty standard to get cable combs every 100-150mm of cable.

I ended up not using as many as I thought I would – for the bend of my PSU cable in the back of my case, I found that open-ended cable combs worked better because it held the cables in place more.

[Picture of Bend]

Essentially, there are three types of cable combs:

  1. Open: These can be added and moved to any cable.
  2. Closed: These are installed on custom cables and cannot easily be removed or added after the cables have been created. 
  3. MountedThese are screwed into your case to help route your cables.

Brands:

MOD-ONE

Alphacool

Titan Rig

Creating Custom Cables

It is pretty common to get custom Power Supply cables made. While making them yourself is possible, there is a lot of nuances involved.

Sleeving

I would highly suggest braiding every possible cable in your computer. Not only can you braid single cables, but I also braided groups of cables together so that it was just one big braid instead of a bunch of small cables.

For the sake of consistency, I got all of my braiding from Alex Tech – who offers both Expandable Sleeves and Split Sleeves.

Connectors

The best way of organizing cables is to minimize the amount of extra wire in your case.  While zip-tieing excess cable works fine, ideally, you would cut off the ends of cables that are too long and then re-add the connectors at the correct length.

To do this, you need a Dupont Pin Crimperand then you need to find the right pins and connectors for what you are trying to accomplish. The process of creating each type of pins is basically the same.

Consolidating Power Connectors

You will put many components inside of your computer that use the severely outdated Molex Power Adapter. Having a mixture of Molex and SATA Power Connectors can quickly lead to your cabling to become a mess.

A SATA power connector can power any component that is powered by a Molex power connector. Additionally, if you have several similar components, you can combine them to use a single SATA Power connector, reducing the number of internal power connections you need.

⁠[Insert Images here]

Phanteks Connector

3-pin JST SM Plug

Corsair Connectors

When you first get Corsair RGB devices, the connectors look proprietary; however, you can buy the connectors separately and create your own. There is a detailed post on the Corsair forum, but here is an overview of the parts you need:

Fan Extension Cable

Qty      Part      Comments

1          Molex 50-57-9404      4 circuit Female Socket Connector

1          Molex 70107-0003     4 circuit Male Socket Connector

4          Molex 16-02-0102      Female Crimp Connector

4          Molex 16-02-0114      Male Crimp Connector

1          4 wire, 24 AWG           Cable

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Fan Hub Connector

*Note: Only connect pins 2 & 3. Pin 1 should be disconnected. Pin 1 is marked on the female socket connector with an arrow.

Qty      Part      Comments

2          Molex 50-57-9403      3 circuit Female Socket Connector

4          Molex 16-02-0102      Female Crimp Connector

1          2 wire, 24 AWG           Cable

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RGB LED Strip Extension

Qty      Part      Comments

1          Molex 50-57-9403      3 circuit Female Socket Connector

1          Molex 70107-0002     3 circuit Male Socket Connector

3          Molex 16-02-0102      Female Crimp Connector

3          Molex 16-02-0114      Male Crimp Connector

1          3 wire, 24 AWG           Cable

You can get all of these from Digikey, and your 3-wire or 4-wire cables from Performance PCs.

SATA Power Connectors 

Molex Power Connectors

Heat-shrink

There are two major types of heat-shrink: glue-lined and non-glue-lined.

I would suggest getting an assortment of each type in a wide array of sizes – it is pretty inexpensive, and you will likely use a lot.

Glue-Lined heat-shrink comes with glue inside that melts as it takes shape – helping to hold it in place and insulate whatever is inside. This is perfect when you are creating a custom braided cable with a single cable inside.  The glue is permanent – so don’t use it on anything you may want to change one day.

Non-Glue-Lined heat-shrink allows you.

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