PSU Cable Connections

Cable connections are easily the most visually intimidating aspect of system building. On the face of things, it looks like there are an awful lot of connections to be made – but distilling the process down to only the required cables for our build quickly reveals otherwise. Connecting the cables is surprisingly simple once the process has begun.

There are only a few main cables that must be connected:

Power Cables

  • 24-pin power to motherboard (always required)
  • 4/8-pin EPS12V power to CPU (always required)
  • 6/8-pin power to video card (normally required)
  • SATA power to storage devices (normally required)
  • MOLEX power to accessories (optional)
  • CPU fan & case fan power (required)
  • Power cable to system’s power supply (always required)

Data Cables

  • SATA data to storage (normally required)
  • USB2.0 front panel headers (normally required)
  • USB3.0 front panel header (normally required)
  • HD Audio front panel header (normally required)

Signaling Cables

  • Power switch [PWR_SW]
  • Reset switch [RESET]
  • Power LEDs [PWR_LED]
  • Hard Drive LEDs [HDD_LED]

Here’s how the PSU cables should look:

Each cable is designed for a different purpose.

How to Connect PSU Cables

  1. Connect your power supply cables beginning with the 24-Pin Motherboard connector.
  2. Next, connect the 8-Pin CPU/ Motherboard cable. Some motherboards will only require a 4-Pin connector.
  3. Next, connect the 6 or 8-Pin PCI power cable to your video card. Some video cards do not require additional power from the power supply. Some video cards will require two 6 or 8-Pin PCI power cables.
  4. Next, connect your storage or disk device such as your HDD, SSD, or DVD Drive. Connect the SATA data cables that were included with your motherboard. Connect one end to the hard drive or disk drive and the other end into the appropriate SATA slot on your motherboard. Consult the manual for additional instructions on which slot to use.
  5. Connect the SATA power cable from the power supply to the drives.
  6. Connect any USB headers from your accessories such as the GRID+ or Aperture M Card Reader.
  7. Connect the SATA or MOLEX power for any of your accessories or coolers such as the SATA power connector in the Kraken™ liquid cooler.
  8. Connect the USB 3.0 connector to enable the USB 3.0 slots on the outside of your case. (If there are any)
  9. Connect the HD Audio and USB headers to enable the USB 2.0 and Headset / Mic ports on the outside of your case.
  10. Connect the Power SW, Reset SW and LED indicator headers into the motherboard to enable the activity LEDs and power / reset buttons on your case.
Manta Cable Connections
Making a diagram of how you’re going to connect everything can be helpful.

How to make everything clean with cable management

  1. Pull any excess cabling through the rubber grommets to ensure the PC is nice and clean from the front.
  2. Organize the remaining bundles of cables and begin zip tying them to the case using the zip-tie points.
  3. Arrange your cables into a group without overlapping or tangling them.
  4. Zip tie them together to the back of the case to create a neat and slim profile.
  5. Gather excess cabling together and tuck them away in an empty space such as an unused hard drive mount in front of the power supply.
  6. Continue arranging cables and zip tying them to the case until you are happy with your result.
  7. Close the side panel and make sure any excess cables are out of view from the front of the case.

That wraps the most common connections in a PC build! At this point, it’s all about cable management and cleanliness – but that’s just a matter of spending the time on it. – Steve Burke, GamersNexus