Cable management on desktop cases and plain desks

In an ideal world every computer would be in a tower case and our computer suite desks would have proper tower bays with some form of integrated ducting. Unfortunately these objectives cannot always be met and so we have to adapt in order to achieve something that is functional, practical and above all, tidy.

The use of plain desks dictates a requirement of low profile desktop cases, ordinarily to be avoided due to bulk, limited expandability and poor ventilation. Some cases are not strong enough to carry CRT screens so LCD is mandated if at all possible. The latter would also allow the use of 600 mm depth desks if you can get a tower bay underneath. 800 mm of width per user would then be sufficient and allow plenty of room on top with the reduced profile of the LCD.

Cable management requires adaption in plain desks. Running cables internally is the best all-round solution but may not be practical without large-scale holesawing. If it is not possible to drill through desk tops you may need to run cables along the back of desks instead. Keyboard, mouse and VGA cables should be neatly bunched up at the back of desktop cases. Power and network cables need to be trunked across the desks and plugboxes could be mounted internally at one end. IEC mains leads can be purchased with tapon plugs, increased lengths up to 5 metres or 2-into-1 Y cords as required. Ducting may be able to be fitted along the backs of desks to carry the trunked cables.

These photos illustrate different objectives and how to solve common problems.


This picture shows a plugbox mounted inside a desk. Mains leads exit through a 60 mm holesaw hole at top left and run along the back of the desk to individual PCs.


Here we see how to hang a network switch on the end of a desk. Using the rack ears we can usually turn these through 90 degrees and screw them to the side of the desk.


Courtesy of the local polytech here is another way of mounting a plugbox. The main problem with this is that plugpacks will tend to fall out under their own weight. Mains and network cabling in this example is run inside the two white ducts. Various types of ducting is available to suit.


Here is a nice tidy way to bunch cables at the back of a desktop case. The bracket shown is supplied with these particular Foxconn cases for a security cable and not being required in our situation we used them to attach a large cable tie to loop and secure the excess length in VGA, keyboard and mouse leads. The bracket is attached to the case with a screw and this can easily be undone to detach the cable bunch from the case without undoing the cable tie.


And finally here are three PCs on a desk using a combination of the above techniques. Network and mains leads run in a channel along the outer back of the desks and are held into the channel using large cable ties. The mains leads run around the far end of the desk through a 60 mm hole to the plugbox. The excess lead length which has not yet been tied back can be seen here hanging down under the desk.