Building a custom gaming PC requires a fair amount of prior knowledge of computer building – how A fits into B. For beginners, you could manage by reading the manuals included with your newly purchased hardware and work your way through it at a pace that you are comfortable at. However, you could be wasting a ton of time on one step that you personally do not feel comfortable with without noticing. When it comes to cable management, this would be the heavy hitter for time-wasting.
Cable management does not only include your power supply cables that needed to be routed through when installed. It also includes your front panel connectors from the front of the PC case, case fans cables, custom accessories and any SATA cables from mechanical hard drives or solid-state drives. Without having a mental map of where these cables should be routed when it comes to cable management time, your system is going to either have quite the mess in its front, or in its trunk. So if you are wanting to make your PC is worthy of putting on display, then get ready as we will be diving into our recommendations for how to build a clean custom gaming PC below.
Benefits of Cable Management
We believe cable management is super important when it comes to building a custom gaming PC. It can mainly benefit the user’s system by providing better airflow for the internal system components will allow them to run cooler and quieter. By having tangled cables darting unchecked from one corner of the case to the other can restrict airflow, especially if when on the inner side of the case, where your components are on display. By streamlining cables and managing them on both sides, you allow the installed fans to do their job and keep the temperatures of your installed hardware in check.
2. Easy Upgrading and Maintenance
Adding a new component in a computer with little to no cable management can be super stressful, as you may even have to remove a bunch of cable ties to even route the correct cable through. When there is not a complete mess everywhere, it is super-simplified to upgrade any component such as a new graphics card, a new hard drive or solid-state drive. We believe attentive cable management can route a clear path to ports and bays, drastically speeding up the overall upgrade and maintenance time of your PC, so this is very important to keep in mind.
3. Looks Much Better!
With all the time and effort you have put into the overall build, you will be wanting to show it off to anyone visiting you. If you bring your system to a friends LAN party or a special event, you can be sure that you will be receiving some positive comments from your friends or peers if you have done the job right. Keep in mind, it may also give you a peace of mind by staring at your beautifully, cable managed PC as if it was your first child.
PREP 1: PC Build tools
Cable management is not a one-step action, but more of a process that involves considering the currently installed components you have, what you may upgrade to in the future, and the space within the configured case that you have to work with at all times.
We would recommend the have the following when preparing to build a system and to make sure you are prepared to cable manage your system well:
- Workspace. You will need a large surface to work on, such as a table. Your area will need to be well lit so you can see what you’re doing at all times during the build process.
- Phillips Screwdriver. You will need this for just about everything when it comes to building a gaming PC as it’s used for nearly all hardware installations, however, you may need a smaller Phillips screwdriver if you need to install an M.2 device onto your motherboard.
- Cable Ties. You will be using these for cable management, mainly used at behind the motherboard tray for front panel cables and tying down power supply cables once routed correctly.
- Wire Cutters. Used for cutting the cable ties ends once fully tied up, they are also very useful to cut cable ties when a mistake is made or if you are disassembling.
Pro-tip: Magnetic screwdrivers are highly recommended as they prevent you from dropping screws outside or inside your case (please do note that the magnetic tip of a screwdriver is very weak and will not have any effect on your internal PC components if you are worried).
PREP 2: PC Case DESIGN
Before you start choosing the components that will be used within your PC build, you should have a case chosen for your build – or, at least, a case size in mind.
We know that case manufacturers are consciously aware of the inherent struggles of proper cable management with each design they put to the market and unfortunately, not all cases are created equal. This has to lead most case manufacturers to implement better management paths and more intuitive cable points for users such you and myself. When done correctly, this gives us a much easier time when building a new gaming PC.
If you are looking to build a brand new build, then it would be best to ensure that you buy a case fit for purpose. Look at reviews and photos of the interior of desktop PC cases to confirm before purchasing, as you may like the exterior of the case, but will find difficult to build within it which happens quite often. You could instead go with a custom PC builder such as the team here at AlliedGaming to build your custom gaming PC, which we offer on our Gaming Desktops page. However, it is up to you if you want to experience what it’s like building your own personal PC. We’re here to help you out regardless of the path you take.
One more thing we would like mention is the overall size of a case can have an impact on how successful cable management most likely is within it. A roomier case will always be easier to manage, if the cable points are designed correctly, but will require longer cables which is dependent on the chosen Power Supply for your PC build. So plan as best as you can!
Modular Power Supply
The majority of cables and connectors within a custom gaming PC come from the power supply, making it a central consideration during cable managing. With this in mind, we highly recommend choosing a modular PSU when configuring your own PC. There will be a price difference between a non-modular and the modular power supply, but in our opinion, it is most definitely worth the upgrade.
The ability to pick and choose which cables you want to be installed to your PSU, instead of a mess of wires fixed to the unit makes cable management a-lot less stressful. With a non-modular power supply, unnecessary unused cables need to be managed to, and swapping to a modular PSU resolves that from happening entirely.