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Counting your Mac and any connected peripherals, how many cables (power, FireWire, USB, etc.) does your setup require?

1/1: Counting your Mac and any connected peripherals, how many cables (power, FireWire, USB, etc.) does your setup require?

0 - Battery only all the time! 58 (2.51%)
1 - Power cable only 187 (8.10%)
2 to 5 741 (32.11%)
6 to 9 516 (22.36%)
10 to 13 294 (12.74%)
14 to 17 159 (6.89%)
18 to 21 117 (5.07%)
22 to 25 67 (2.90%)
26 to 29 28 (1.21%)
30 to 33 30 (1.30%)
34 to 37 12 (0.52%)
38 to 41 6 (0.26%)
42 to 45 5 (0.22%)
More than 45 cables! 88 (3.81%)
Other polls | 2,308 votes | 20 comments

Counting your Mac and any connected peripherals, how many cables (power, FireWire, USB, etc.) does your setup require? | 20 comments | Create New Account
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Authored by: robg on Mar 12, '04 09:22:12AM

And yes, this poll was inspired by our recent move, as I spent quite a bit of time under the desk, wiring up the various components that are connected to the desktop machine ...


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Authored by: Han Solo on Mar 12, '04 11:35:13AM

So in your case, how many was that? As I look around my home office, I see that I have three separate powerstrips entirely filled -- and my paper shredder and a desk lamp aren't even plugged in for lack of outlet space! Add to that all the other junk on and around my desk, and I don't think I want to count all those cords -- let alone ponder taking them apart and re-assembling elsewhere....

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Authored by: robg on Mar 12, '04 12:15:26PM

It was ... lots ... iSight, iPod dock, Palm dock, FireWire drive, digital camera cable, scanner, two printers, USB gamepad, etc. I actually lost count a couple times as it's all so inter-connected. But I think I can conservatively say there are at least 30 cables...


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Well, if I count *everything*...
Authored by: rufo on Mar 12, '04 11:48:51AM

If I were to count my entire home network with my desktop Mac, my desktop PC (urgh), our iMac DV/400, my old 7200 Linux server (soon to be replaced, hopefuly), and the Airport Extreme Base station with the PBG4 12"... that's waaaay over 45 cables. >:-) Everything's so interconnected I don't know that I could separate out any one computer without still coming out at about 20 cables (well, maybe the imac and the AEBS).

Soon to come: Networking my TiVo, a new desktop PC (ugh!), and possibly an X-Box. Progress marches ever on...

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Authored by: jecwobble on Mar 12, '04 12:41:41PM

Since I use GB, I included my guitar tuner and cables in my count of approximately 17.

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about you low cable guys/gals
Authored by: Saint on Mar 12, '04 01:46:17PM

can we have some sort of classification of what uses these cables are for? do you have any perhiperals at all? what do you use your mac for?
i have 2 usb hubs, a firewire/usb2 card in the back (with a total of 8 ports, a real bargin) and a router, are there really that few crazy guys like me? i barely even use all the items connected by the wires, but i often find situations where i could not live without any of them.
yet i still can't find a USB adapter for my big toe, nor a firewire card for my hand/fingers. and when the hell will belkin get around to finishing that gEnet port for my neck?

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about you low cable guys/gals
Authored by: enigmamf on Mar 12, '04 02:10:20PM

Someone with a laptop could only use one cord, or zero when they're on battery power. But not me:

Each of the following have both a power cord and a data cord (USB, FireWire, or VGA):
Printer, Floppy, CD burner, external hard drive, scanner, monitor, 1 powered USB hub (7x2=14)

Each of the following only have a single USB cable:
SmartMedia reader, keyboard, mouse, 2 unpowered USB hubs (5)

The computer itself has a power cord and an ethernet cord (2) which links to a powered ethernet hub (2) = 4
The ethernet cord runs to the apartment router (I'm not including my roomate's computers) (2) which runs to the cable modem (2) = 4.

Between them all I use 2 power strips (2). My computer, though, goes to a UPS (1 extra cord) which has USB monitoring (1 more USB cord). = 4

Total: 31 cords. I'm frightened.

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3 macs and 1 wintel
Authored by: Power Factor on Mar 13, '04 08:39:47AM

I have 3 macs and 1 wintel machine on my desk.
with usb KVM switch, hubs, fw DVD burner, printer and many others
the cables tend to get rather INSANE.

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3 macs and 1 wintel
Authored by: NeutronMonk on Mar 13, '04 09:32:49AM

I feel everyone's pain and fear. As above, my number of cables= INSANE. I also currently have 3 Macs and 1 home-brew wintel, and peripherals too numerous to mention... and like robg, I am moving my home office too, except that I'm JUST moving it upstairs(!). I'm also going to add a Linux server in the basement and a home theater pc in the living room :) All of this means that I will have to add a bunch more cable through the walls of my house- Oh, Joy! Besides the usual Cat5e (for ethernet) and RG6 (for cable modem/tv), what cables should I install to future-proof my dwelling? Perhaps some fiber? Robg, did you do any cabling in your new house?
Maybe I should post this question in the forums :)

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3 macs and 1 wintel
Authored by: jordanburke on Mar 13, '04 01:42:25PM

I just helped setup my brothers new house. They hadn't finished dry walling yet, so we could get in and run cable where we wanted. Every room has two two Cat5 lines for telephone and network as well as two cable lines for TV and the possible Tivo. Who knows if he will use them, but they are worth the investment.

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One Mac and three Suns
Authored by: _merlin on Mar 15, '04 01:39:03PM

I feel for you. I have a G4 tower and three Sun SPARCs (with their external SCSI swap drives). They're also attached to my stereo, and I have a DECT base for cordless phones. I had to move rooms within the same house, and unplugging and then re-connecting all the cables was a nightmare.

We have lots of cables under the house, as well. We have phone sockets in most rooms (some rooms have two or more because we've transitioned from type 605 connectors to RJ45), and some rooms have a network drop as well!

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Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 13, '04 01:21:02PM

I just plugged in the power in to my PowerBook, so that makes 2 cables with the mouse (my batteries are mepty on the bluetooth mouse)

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2 computers double cables
Authored by: imgoka on Mar 14, '04 07:15:32AM

well if I count my pb12 just 3 (power, network and mouse) but this is only when i am not at home because if I am at home then I should count: the three before+firewire dvdrw+webcam+2nd monitor+printer+speakers+minidisc (this only in the pb12 but I usually work with my ibook in paralell using pb12 keyboard and mouse via vnc) ok ok I really enjoy watching my pb full of wires like an octopuss
But if I have to count all the cables in my house upps... they are everywhere.... For the telephone, for the server, for the xbox, hmmmmm I think it is time to think in buy a wireless station

hec spc

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Arrrrgh!!!! the cables are coming to get me!!!
Authored by: mmulhern on Mar 14, '04 03:42:49PM

That's it! I'm not moving house, I'm not even going to move my Mac to another room, or even other side of the computer room.

Just counting the devices connected to the QS-2x1G it's 32 cables + 2 power strips for 34 (my response to survey) then there is another 17 cables for the PC and printer connected to the network in the same room as the Mac (subtotal = 51).

Continuing along the network via the AEBS, My wife's iBook500 and desk bound stuff is another 7 cables and 1 power strip (subtotal = 59)

My lonely PB800 contibutes 2 cables, for a Grand Total of 61 cables for my home network.

And if we count the 2x802.11b to the laptops, 2 cameras, and 1 VCR deck that move on and off the network, that is another 10 cables and +1 power strip, for 72 max (unless of course I lost track of my counting somewhere?)

Thanks for the wake-up call, going to have to do something about that cable situation now.


Sydney, Australia

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Counting what's connected and what's *essential* to run those...
Authored by: Spades on Mar 14, '04 08:49:45PM

Counting every thing that's connected to my Mac:

The mac itself has two USB cables, a power cable, speaker cable, audio in, ethernet, and DVI cable.

One of those USB cables goes to a hub with three more cables hooked to it. It can be powered, but I usually don't plug it in. The other cable goes to an external harddrive that needs a power cable. The speakers have their own power cable, and often have headphones hooked into them. The audio in is connected to my gamecube (add another power cable) because my computer speakers are the best speakers I have. It's also handy for recording the good music from the games. The ethernet cable goes to a switch that has its own power cable. I won't go into everything else connected to the network. The DVI cable goes to an external monitor with its own power cable.

So adding it all up, I have 18 for the Mac and its "peripherals". I have to use the term losely if I count the gamecube. If I add in the optional power cable for the USB hub, that's 19. That should be everything that's typically connected, only counting power cables for the peripherals and not counting additional cables connected to them.

Not bad for a Powerbook, huh?

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Not that many
Authored by: Ezekiel on Mar 15, '04 05:04:40PM

Well, not counting my stereo, my mac requires only 7 cables. Two power cords (one for the comp, one for the screen), two USB cables (keyboard and mouse of course), one toslink cable to connect to the reciever, one ethernet cable and the screens video cable. Counting the 5.1 speaker setup and receiver, it makes for 15 cables in total.

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7-8 cables for power alone!
Authored by: g3ski on Mar 16, '04 11:29:23AM

The post did say, "my setup", so that implies how many cables do I need to have all of my stuff going and connected. Too many! I only have 1 power outlet in the room of this apartment, so I have 2 UPSes and 5 or 6 extension cords just to get power to the computer equip! :-)

I too just spent over an hour organizing and staightening out the cable mess. I am a bit of a neat freak, and these cables had been bugging me for months. From where I am sitting it looks nice and clean, but dip your head under/behind the desk and it's a crazy maze of wires and cables.

Anyone remember the old iMac advert where the PC had the mess of cables behind it and the iMac had the power cable only? Wait until that iMac user starts to add peripherals, it will be a mess too....good ad tho.

"I want my two dollars!"

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Off the top of my head
Authored by: Eliard on Mar 18, '04 05:23:40PM

Not at my home office now, so this calculation is off the top of my head

11 Power Supply Cables
14 Cables connecting peripherals to the Mac
7 Cables interconnecting between peripherals
32 Cables

I have them all bundled and strapped together with those velcro thingies, fished through the cable holes in my desk, but somehow, everything still looks very messy.

I get a real laugh at the design shows when they redo the home office. A really cute little desk in the center of the room with the CPU tucked in a cabinet underneath, the keyboard in a drawer and the monitor front and center, but nothing is connected, there's no printer, no scanner, no modem, and no space to actually work without getting a severe case of RSI because there isn't enough space for the wrists and arms to rest naturally.

At least I've disconnected and packed up the stereo system. iTunes and a really good set of speakers goes a long way in reducing the number of remotes (one each for the receiver, CD player, CD recorder). Relieves some of the clutter.

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With hubs the number goes up fast
Authored by: magill on Mar 18, '04 07:26:01PM

I have three hubs connected to my flat-panel iMac:
1 - 7 port USB hub
1 - 6 port Firewire hub
1 - UFO Hub (xtremeMac) with 2FW and 4 USB ports.
USB: keyboard
wireless trackball
Keyspan DMR
Keyspan twin serial
Griffin iMic - Plantronix headset (mic)
- AV cable to my Stereo/TV system
Smart disk Memory Stick reader
Palm Cradle
iPaq Cradle
Firewire: 3 Disk drives
Pyro Webcam
Sony Digital Camcorder

So, that totals up to about 18 cables if I don't include either the Ethernet or the Phone connection, and since the system connects via 802.11 (Airport), they are not normally connected.

oh yeah, there is the power cord and the ProSpeakers... make that 21 cables.

William H. Magill
Senior Systems Administrator

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Too many ...
Authored by: bedouin on Mar 20, '04 05:30:10PM

I voted 18-20, but I'm not sure if that's right. My Powermac alone has the following cables around it:

10 Power chords (monitor, firewire dvd rom, scanner, powermac, receiver, gamecube, firewire hard drive, printer, vcr, dv cam)

7 USB cables (keyboard, scanner, printer, mouse, joystick, USB > UPS backup, usb hub)

3 Firewire cables (hard drive, dvd rom, firewire cam)

5 video cables (coax running from my wall, to my vcr, and then to my AlchemyTV card; RCA cable connecting my gamecube to AlChemyTv card, 17" monitor vga cable, Apple Display cable)

6 audio cables (minijack > RCA cable running from my powermac to the receiver, minijack > RCA cable converting Gamecube's audio output to minijack, 2 speakers cables from my receiver, headphones, rca connector running from the receiver to other side of my room to connect an ibook, or anything else)

2 gamecube controllers, remote sensor cable from my AlChemyTV card

1 Ethernet cable . . . which eventually leads to my basement where there are MANY more cables attached to my servers :)

34 cables total! More can be added depending on what I'm doing . . . like when I connect my digital camera, or am dubbing video from (or to) my Firewire cam with the VCR.

I used to try and 'hide' my cables, but there's simply no point in trying. The best i could do is tie them together, but I connect and disconnect stuff so often that it's really impractical.

My iBook on the other hand, has nothing attached to it :)

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