For those of you that closely follow what I write about, you will likely remember the BitFenix Alchemy Cables we took a look at in early September. When I took at look at pretty much one of every cable extension they offer, my findings then were that I really liked the coverings choice with the blend of cloth fibers versus the plastic braided offerings available to DIY types or even in other pre-assembles cables. Factoring in the pricing and considering I shelled out $40 for a 6" custom 24-pin alone, BitFenix had the total package and I didn't even cover the seven color choices in the covering to go with any sort of color scheme.
BitFenix seems to have liked what I wrote. In a conversation with BitFenix we got on the topic that since I liked the BitFenix and made claims that they are the best option on the market right now, I was sent a few cables from NZXT and ModRight to show objectively why I made the comments I did. To be fair, NZXT and ModRight have no idea that this is even being written. I was delivered a package with four cables from both of the competing manufacturers cables and I am about to bring you my findings.
I am just one opinion; even so, I try to be as objective as possible and put myself in the seat of a potential buyer. As like with any of you, if I wanted to add an attractive set of individually sleeved cables into my PC, there are a few routes to take to get your desire fulfilled. If you must have something completely custom and have no mechanical abilities, you can sell off a kidney and pay well over $100 to have someone build you a kit of cables.
The second way, and again you must be mechanical, is to obtain the components and do the work yourself, time allowing! The final way to achieve the desired look is to go to one of the three mentioned manufacturers and start looking through the long lists of cables. My intention here is to try and save you the time and frustration and explain which of these three sets I would spend my money on.
BitFenix Alchemy Cables
BitFenix Alchemy Cables
I made comparative charts for you to be able to get the big picture about what each manufacturer is offering. The BitFenix cables have three key advantages when shopping for cables. More length options, more color choices and of course a cloth covering. At the time of the review then, BitFenix offered them direct, whereas now Performance-PCs.com is keeping the same pricing from $4.99 to $9.99 depending on the cable.
I've gone back and used images from the last review, because obviously they aren't still in the packages. While we will only be covering the 24-pin, the 8-pin EPS, a 6-pin GPU and 3-pin fan extension cable, with the BitFenix cables, they come shipped in a cellophane bag with a folded over cardboard top stapling it all closed.
With Alchemy cables, you obviously get the cloth covering on all of the cables, but on the larger power delivery cables there is absolutely no heatshrink tubing used in the process of making these. The cloth goes all the way to the metal terminal where it is crimped with the wire. Another thing I like about these Alchemy cables, it's that the wire inside seems to be more pliable and with the cloth covering it allows these cables to make natural bends and graceful turns.
The Alchemy cables that do not have wiring can be easily fit in the connector, such as the fan and USB extension. There is 5.5mm of black heatshrink tubing visible to hold the cloth in place for these extension cables.
A couple of things that must be said! The availability of seven color choices is a huge benefit to BitFenix. Black, White, Red, Blue, Orange, Silver and Green to choose from and many ways to mix and match, the possibilities are exponential to what sort of customization you can come up with. Size is also important! Why pay for more wire than can fit cleanly when BitFenix offers various lengths of each kind of cable so you can buy as much or as little as you need.
NZXT Premium Cables
NZXT Premium Cables
With the NZXT Premium Cables I had to look at the actual wiring to find the gauges as they are not disclosed. The smaller wires are not marked, but comparing diameter to the known BitFenix cables, I could tell the fan cables are 26 gauge wires. These cables are covered with braided plastic that most of us are used to seeing, much like that in the intro image. Where the wires meet every connector, no matter the cables function, there is 4.5mm of black heatshrink tubing visible no matter the color choice of the three you pick. Priced close to BitFenix, the NZXT cables can be had from $3.95 to $10.95 at Preformance-PCs.com. Again, pricing varies in that gap depending on the cable type.
The cellophane bag is classed up a bit compared to the BitFenix packaging, but again uses a foldover piece of cardboard with staples to secure the packaging.
As I mentioned, no matter what color or what cables, all of them start from the connection with the black heatshrink before you get to the actual covering. I will say that all the ends are even and after a bunch of work trying to straighten the bends out of the cables, the wires do lay straight and even with each other for the most part.
The NZXT cables are typically 20cm or twelve inches long. In the instance of the fan extension, it is 25cm or roughly twelve and a half inches long. All in all, some pretty nice looking cables, but the stiffness of the wire inside mixed with the memory the plastic has from being folded, they are ready to be formed for your case. By this I mean if you want them round or somewhat graceful looking, you better wrap these around a pop can and wrap it with rubber bands to set a new memory for the wires insulation and the plastic braid on the outside.
This is just a close up shot to also see the effect the light has on these cables. With the cloth of the BitFenix solution, it is flat and won't reflect light. With lighting on these cables, they will most definitely show this shine and in my opinion, not as nice as what the cloth looks like. This is more the normal solution covering these wires. You can buy it with thicker braiding if you want to do it yourself, but these single braid coverings are more like fishnet stockings. It's not really a "covering" if I can see the wires and the printing on them right through this now is it? The last thing that is a downer for the NZXT cables is that you can only get them in Black, Red and White.
ModRight CableRight Single Braid Cables
ModRight CableRight Single Braid Cables
ModRight also offers a similar solution with their CableRight Single Braid Cables. Again, the gauges of wiring match, and again the NZXT and ModRight cables use stiff red wires covered in single braid plastic coverings. The biggest change to this set of cables is the 10mm of visible heatshrink tubing on the ends of the wires near the connections. There is one good side to this, though, for each of the five color options, the heatshrink is color matched to the cables, rather than the black of NZXT on all of them. All of the cables except for one of them will arrive in 31cm length; for us in the USA, that's roughly thirteen inches. Pricing for these cables are between $5.99 and $11.99 ringing in as the most expensive option.
The idea of cellophane packaging was dropped for a plastic variety. As with both of the others, it's topped with cardboard, but this time it is white versus the black of the previous two. The idea is pretty much the same, but the ModRight packaging is the actual stand out here. Based on the fact that the others are so similar, with them all on the shelf together the ModRight white background will attract your eye faster.
ModRight CableRight cables come with quite a lot of heatshrink tubing covering the ends of the wires where they meet the braid, but in my opinion this is just too excessive. There is no need to use 10mm of it, and it will also limit the mobility of the wires near the clips for those gentle bends I like to see. To be real honest here, as far at the termination points go, these look almost amateur, and the 6-pin GPU pointing up from the bottom has wires pointing in every direction but straight. Not what I want when I am looking to "improve" the looks of my build.
Upon closer inspection I found that the ModRight and NZXT cables use very similar coverings with their choice of a single braid solution. You can see in many spots with this manufacturers cables that the dark printing on the inner wires is plainly visible, again sort of defeating the idea in my opinion.
Something else I was a bit disappointed in with the ModRight cables is that if you are going to make 10mm of tubing visible, don't use a flat pinkish heatshrink on the smaller diameter wires and a shiny red one on the fatter cables. It really breaks the flow and looks like you pieced it together yourself. On the plus side the ModRight cables do measure in at over thirteen inches in length, and from what I could gather only one single run SATA cable is available in a shorter length.
Side By Side Comparisons
Side By Side Comparisons
These images are going through each of the four samples as we go back over which cables are better, or at least why I think so. The BitFenix at the left is the cleanest looking of the three with the NZXT version in the middle coming in at second place here. They get second, because while I don't like the heatshrink on the wires at all, they have all black ends and a more professional look to the much sloppier looking ModRight cable on the right.
The order is a bit rearranged, but you can see obviously which is which. On the left is the clean looking BitFenix Alchemy cable, with nothing to complain about. There is the octopus from ModRight in the middle, and a clean and respectful job done by NZXT on the right. Also you can see in this image, the BitFenix cable is relaxed and forming to the transition from clip to table top. The two on the right are very stiff and will take some effort to get them not to "fold", but rather bend around inside of your case.
As for the higher gauge, but smaller diameter wires, the NZXT and BitFenix tied for presentation and professionalism in their final product. To decide between them, I went with one thing. The BitFenix pulls ahead due to the choice of coverings, as it is the only one that actually covers anything. The ModRight cable for the fan connector is the best looking of the bunch, but still not as nice to look at or use as the other two.
The BitFenix 8-pin EPS cable is again covered all the way into the clip with no means of visible securing methods, again making it a great looking choice for the investment. I do like that the ModRight 8-pin is actually two 4-pins. While it may be a bit harder to install in certain situations, I like that the guys with only a 4-pin EPS power plug can still enjoy the looks of custom cables. The NZXT on the right is just like the rest of the cables we have seen from them. They do have the fact that all cables will look exactly the same no matter the type, where BitFenix mixes a bit of it in on the smaller diameter wiring. ModRight, all I can say is too much is not always a good thing.
So what have we gained from this little head to head of the available colored cabling solutions with individually sleeved cabling? To address just that, I want to cover it in three stages and I hope you can better see my take on why I was so pleased with what I initially saw with BitFenix Cables. I want to cover cost, aesthetics, and form and function. I think looking at only that before I cover the limitations or expanses of color choices should give you a much better perspective as to why I am going to stand behind every word I said previously and show you why I think BitFenix is the clear winner out of these three.
Cost is pretty simple to sort out. As for the BitFenix cable offerings, pricing starts as low as $4.99 and moves through the scale up to $10.95 for the more involved Alchemy cables. Very close in pricing, almost to the letter, were the NZXT Premium cables. With cables starting as low as $3.95 and again ending at $10.95, leaving these two pretty much tied for the lead. That leaves the ModRight CableRight solutions. These cables are priced to start at $5.99 and move up to $11.99 for their 24-pin cable. With the highest price of the three, ModRight didn't win, but they do come in for a close third place finish here.
The overall looks of the cables, to me, is the most important factor. I am much more willing to shell out for a professionally done custom solution as my custom 24-pin wire in the intro image shows. I am far from afraid of paying for quality. In my personal order of appeal, I prefer the flat texture and full covering of the cloth option in the Alchemy cables. That, along with the fact that the main powering wires all come secured without the use of heatshrink to distract the eye or make bends and routing a bit of a pain, is a great advantage to offer in custom cables.
In second place falls NZXT. I like their solution next because if I have to have heatshrink and plastic "mesh" over the wiring, the NZXT cables look more professional, and the all black heatshrink isn't all that bad to deal with; at least it all matches! ModRight, I feel bad for you. It seems you either have people who don't care to make cables working for you, or you just don't care or offer much in the way of quality control. Even the heatshrink, all 10mm of it, didn't go all the way into the connection as the NZXT wires do, they are just plain sloppy!
Again with the form and function aspect, BitFenix pulls in the lead, as they offer the most flexible and easy to use solution. It will allow for a natural sway in the wiring, and if you want as little to show as possible, Alchemy cables still offer the tightest bending radius without kinking or folding in the process. Both the NZXT and ModRight cables are much stiffer and will require more time and patience to get them to look natural inside of the chassis, or even to get them to fold right behind the tray so that the panel goes back on easily.
In my opinion being tied for first in pricing, taking a strong lead in aesthetic appeal and being the easiest of the three to work with, I don't see how one can argue what I said when I initially brought these cables to TweakTown. If anything, this just solidifies my statement, as with this head to head comparison, unless you are allergic to the cloth blend of the BitFenix cables, I can't see any reason to really choose the others. Since they are all available at Performance-Pcs.com, you can go have a look for yourself, but I think you will end up agreeing that BitFenix Alchemy cables offered in more colors than the other manufacturers are cheap as chips to get and do a stellar job for what they are intended to do. To me that is looking good while customizing and adding a splash of color, which is where NZXT and ModRight fall in this discussion.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
United States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com
United Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk
Australia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca
Deutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de