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Stratageies for improving your cable management

Written Mon Jan 04 2021, Updated Sat Jun 01 2024

Up until this point in my life, I've lived as the queen spider, bound in an ever-weaving web of cables. Wires spanning all around my desk and often all across my room. However, I recenetly recieved the most amazing Christmas gift. I got oa brand new motorized standing desk. While this is great for my health and posture for reasons discussed here, it also gave me the opportunity; to move away from the inbuilt wall setup I'd been using for years which provided hardly any flexibility or configurability.

For years, I'd been watching YouTube videos detailing amazing PC builds and epic setups, and while I built a pretty nice small-formfactor PC a few years ago, I had yet to work on the whole setup. I've spent a few weeks watching different setup guides or reading different tips and tricks, and after applying much of the best advice to build my dream setup, I decided to write my own guide containing many of the things I learned, links to the best products, and effective statagies that could help you build out your setup from scratch or just impprove the one you've got.

The first thing I'd suggest you do is take note of the avialable space you have, not just for placing things on the setup, rather getting a general inventory of the space you have to work with. There are many statagies to build a nice PC setup, and you should take the time and consideration to choose the best one for your constraints, budget, and preferences.

The unidesk

This is perhaps both the most difficult and most rewarding method. Here, we're going to fit everything onto a sinlge desk, and attempt to hide as many cables as possible. This may not always be possible, for example, if you're a laptop user, and take your computer with you on the go, or you frequently move your periphrials around, some of these statagies won't be practical. However, these setups can look incredible, and there are many clever tricks you can use to make them appear nfearly wireless.

I would also advise a desk which has some margin with the walls (not backed into a corner or against a wall) for cable routing purposes. If the desk is against a wall or built into the room, then you might still be able to achieve this if you can make holes and use groumets. To pull this setup off, the first thing I'd reccomend is setting up everything the way you want it with all your wires hanging loose. Examine each possible path and look for patterns that would make it easy to group your cables together. For example, maybe your mouse, keyboard, and monitor cables go off to one side and them come around to the other to plug into your PC.

Firstly, I'd reccomend mounting a powerstrip to the underside of the desk. This will allow all the power cables to run along the desk rather than to the ground. I would highly encourage you not to cheap out here. This will be powering all your devices, so you want it to be high quality. Be sure it's surge protected and has enough power plugs for all your devices. You also might opt for one with built-in USB ports, which is convient for charging things or things that just need power, freeing up power bricks or PC USB ports. The strip can easily be mounted with some squares of 3M tape. Affix it to the end of the desk where you want to plug everything in.

The main tool used to achive this setup is a cable raceway. It's a sort of tube which mounts to the underside of your desk and allows cables to be fed in, run to their desired length, and then exit at their desired location. This is a great way to plug things in from two different sides of the desk. Rather than running things over the top, you can run them off one side, into the raceway, then up onto the other side. I like to have the entrance to my raceway nefar the powerstrip, so things can plug in, then run through to their destination. If you're working with a smaller desk like me, I'd reccomend getting a few small raceways rather than one big one. Although they can be cut to smaller sizes, I find this way grants more flexibility. Some of the cables go to the middle of the desk, such as my monitor power cable, while others go far to one side, such as my PC power and speaker power cables. The double raceway allows for easier exit points, but longer cables can still run through both.

A powerstrip and raceways will likely go a long way to improving your cable management, but there is certainly more that can be done. Frustratingly, some devices come with power bricks or large adapters that obviously can't fit into a raceway. I would recommend adhering them to the underside of the desk with some 3M tape just like the powerstrip. Next, you might find you're running into problems with cable length, be it too much or two little. If your cables are too long when comming out of the raceway, you can fold and bundle them with velcro strips, one strip per cable. If it's too short, have it exit the raceway before it reaches the end and route it to is destination. Because it's often impossible to get the perfect length of cable to comfortably reach each device, you might find that some cables sag if given some extra slack. The solution to this is to use mountable cable clips, which adhere to a hard surface and keep the cable on its path. You can use these on the underside or back side of the desk to keep them straight where they're going. These cable clips to also be helpful if your velcod bundles are sagging down.

The split surface method.

If you have a lot of things on your desk, or just not much desk space, you may want to put your PC on a seperate surface like a different desk/table or the floor. If the PC is sitting on carpet, you should consider putting it on something like a piece of wood or better yet, a wheelable PC catty. THis method relies on the use of a cable snake, which is a large group of sleeves to hold cables and transport them cleanly together. Figure out where you'd like to sit the PC, then feed all your cables through different sleeves of the snake. If you're using an adjustable standing desk, be sure that the cables and the snake have addiquate slack from your at all heights. If the PC and desk are at adjacent heights, you'll likely have both a horixzontal and vertical system

Tabletop management

The upperside of your desk could likely be improved as well. One of the best things kyou can do here is route periphrials' cables together before they leave the desktop to be ran to their destination. For example, your mouse and keyboard cable could be grouped together with your monitor cables. A good way to hide the mouse and keyboard cables is to cut a two very small slits in your desk mat and run them underneath. When doing this, makfe sure to leave enough slack for the mouse to be used comfortably. This can give them a near wireless look. You'll also find that behind your monitor(s) is a great place to do your dirty work. Many cables can often be routed together behind them for minimum visiblity.

Tessa Painter - 2022

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Site last updated Wed, 05 Jun 2024 00:49:02 GMT