Trying to figure out a way to connect all my front-panel ports is making me pull my hair out.

Cyber Akuma

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 3, 2009
Messages
435
I have a build from 2012 that I am going to update. It's currently a Z77 board in a Cooler Master HAF X case.

I am going to be replacing it with a Z490 motherboard, but I would like to try to get as many of the front panel ports connected, if not all of them, that I can.

The old Z77 board had audio headers, two USB 2.0 headers, and a USB 3.0 header. The case has audio headers, two USB 2.0 headers, two USB 3.0 headers..... and eSATA and Firewire. Needless to say the Firewire was never connected to anything (I had an extra unused SATA port that I connected to the eSATA), and there was an unused USB 2.0 header left on the board.

Anyway, the new Z490 board I want to put in it's place has audio headers, two USB 2.0 headers, and a USB 3.0 header, and a USB-C header. So basically in addition to the same number of ports the Z77 board has, it also has a USB-C port, rated USB 3.2 Gen 1.

I would like to at the very minimum connect the USB-C in addition to what I had connected from the Z77 board, if not also the additional two USB 2.0 ports.

The case has several 5.25 inch external bays, and only one of them is being used by an optical drive, so I have plenty of room to mount a 5.25 bay with the ports I need. Issue is...... good luck finding something as uncommon as two USB 2.0 and one USB-C without there being a ton of other random unnecessary garbage ports on it. Even when trying JUST to connect the USB 2.0 alone, many of them seem to act more like a USB-A Male-to-female hub that needs molex power than a proper header-to-usb cable. I also don't want to leave the ports already built into the case unused, I just want to add the ones the motherboard supports that the case does not have. Even just a single USB-C (a proper one that connected to the header and didn't try to add extra nonsense or require additional port) front bay wasn't easy to find.... not to mention an entire 5.25 external bay that just has a single USB-C port on it is kind of a waste.

(Honestly, considering how hard it would be to find a case that has EVERY port your motherboard supports, or even aftermarket front panel bays for the missing ports, you would think there would be a market for modular front bays that just have blank spaces you can put the ports you need in..... guess not)

So I figured the next best step would be to basically "build" one by just getting a blank 5.25 cover, the proper header-to-female-port wiring, and just cut holes in the cover for said ports..... but to my surprise, even THAT is hard to do.

First of all, finding a "blank" cover seems to be hard, especially one that doesn't attempt to double as being something else like a hot-swap bay, a storage compartment, or a goddamn cup holder, are there any good ones? Preferably plastic both so it's easier to cut holes in it and to reduce chance of shorting something.

Second, the majority of said cables seem to be intended to connect the ports to the rear of the case, which would not work out for me as it's a little annoying to reach behind the case where it is, and because of this intent, most of the cables are far too short to connect from the motherboard to the front of the case. I tried and found some cables that seemed long and just simply connected the header to the proper USB female ports with a fairly long cable.

I was looking at something like this for USB 2.0:

https://www.amazon.com/10Pin-Motherboard-Female-Header-Adapter/dp/B015F6QXKO

And similar for USB-C:

https://www.amazon.com/MZHOU-Header-Extension-Internal-Adapter/dp/B083FRW542/

https://www.amazon.com/Motherboard-Extension-HuaLong-Internal-Charging/dp/B0828WVF1X/

But even more problems arose. First of all, quality. I saw people complain about several of the different USB 2.0 cables I looked at, Complaints about them not being shielded well, about them breaking, some (like the one I linked) don't properly block out the unused 10th pin, making it possible to accidently plug the cable in backwards and short out the port/devices or even the board! I could not seem to find any good quality cables, especially for USB-C which feels like it would be even more problematic if a low quality one was used. Every single one I could find seemed to be some random unheard of Chinese brand that only exists on Amazon and/or Newegg. And some had complaints that it damaged their system. The only one I found that seems good is that second USB-C one I linked..... but it's not clear if the cable can be removed from that metal PCIe bracket so I can fit it on a front panel, it looks like it might be glued on.

Second is also even getting what I ordered. Like I said, a lot of random Chinese brands I never heard of or could find anywhere else. Some of the reviews complained that the cable was considerably shorter than advertised, or that it did not reach the 10Gbps speeds advertised and it was 5Gbps or slower.

Are there any good quality versions of these cables that do not contain any extra connectors one can recommend that would be long enough to connect to a front panel? Or perhaps, is there any better way one can recommend for me to connect an additional two USB 2.0 ports and a USB-C port to a case that does not have those without leaving additional unused ports/extra nonsense?
 
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