Sleeving the Front USB and Audio Panel Cables
This is the stock USB 3.1/Audio cables that optionally comes with the case. This goes into the case from the inside and attaches with screws from the front of the case. You can see I have a piece of heat shrink on there already.
I was testing out some heat shrink I had on hand, to see if it would go over the end ok. I had to stretch it out pretty good with some needle nose pliers, and then carefully wiggle it back and forth, sometimes using a small screw driver on the sides for help. It does go over the end, but just barely.
The center screw secures into the other side of the connector housing, the two outside screws go all the way through and connects the housing to the mounting bracket that secures to the case.
I actually had some MDPC-X large sleeve that fits on the cable. This was part of a kit I purchased from Nils back before Mod-One was selling MDPC-X products. He used to sell a starter kit that had all the sizes of black sleeving and heat shrink.
I mostly use headphones and was actually planning to just snip the audio cable off since I probably will not ever use the front panel audio jacks… but I figured might as well sleeve the audio cables and hook it up. This extension cable came with the case, and is the perfect length to reach the header on the motherboard.
Sata sleeve and heat shrink goes over this whole audio cable perfectly! The connector won’t even show either as it will be behind the top radiator on that side.
Here’s the whole thing sleeved up. The front panel end will be behind the front radiators, so I wasn’t worried about getting the sleeving right up flush with the connector body because it won’t show.
Here’s with the audio extension cable.
The lower two port cable will connect to the USB 3 header on the side of the motherboard. Routing it through the case pass through, and up behind the reservoir. I screwed a clip to one of the unused reservoir mounting plate screw holes. You can just see the screw head in this picture above the reservoir mount on the left side.
It just barely has room to slide in here.
The top two port cable was another story
A thick cable like this does not like to make sharp bends. The sleeving pooches out at the bend, and then after a bit the sleeving ended up pulling out of the heat shrink.
The other problem is that with this cable in place, the Intel 900P drive really does not fit in the last slot on top there, at least not without the card being pushed down which I really don’t like.
If only this header was on a 90° angle like the other one it would work much better in my situation!
Additionally from this side I would have liked to route this cable above the fan splitters and behind the radiators. In this scenario, the thick USB 3 cable has to go right over the top of the reservoir in order to reach.
After much research for a USB 3 90° adapter, I discovered that nobody really makes a good one. You would think there would be some demand for something like that. I did see a cheesy looking thing with big blue connectors and some heat shrink around it. The best solution I could come up with is this short extension cable.
It has a nice small connector body that plugs into the motherboard end, and it’s black not blue!
You can see here how sharp of a bend you can get with this extension. I did read some reviews of people complaining that it’s not shielded, and has reduced speeds compared with a regular USB 3.1 cable. I’m not too worried about that, those ports will only be used for transferring small amounts of files on and off a thumb drive or to charge an ipod. Plus I still have the two lower ports with full speed if really needed.
Here’s a look with the USB extension cable plugged into the motherboard. Notice it has to bend up and to the left. It actually doesn’t even look bad just like this.
Luckily, again I have sleeving and heat shrink on hand that will work great over the entire cable. I used a longer piece of heat shrink on the motherboard end, and then bent it into the shape it’s going to be in while the heat shrink was still hot and soft, and then held it in position until it cooled down. Now the cable holds its shape nicely.
Here’s a look at the front with the panel installed in the case.
Those blue USB ports are really messing with my color scheme here!
I used some of the same red spray paint I used on the fans. I just sprayed a little bit into the spray can lid, and used a small brush to put three light coats on the front edge of the USB ports. This is after the first coat.
That looks better
I put the front outer panel on to see how it looks. This is pretty much the finished look for the front.
Next up is something you most likely would never even think of for this build