Cardiff were mostly on top in the first half but had not made the most of their possession, and were reliant on a pair of superb saves by David Marshall, first denying Loic Remy from point-blank range, somehow tipping his fierce effort around the post, before pushing Moussa Sissoko's deflected long-range effort over the bar.
The rather dull first half, and a frustrating one for Newcastle who were struggling to keep the ball down and create chances, was however lit up by a fine solo goal from summer signing Loic Remy. The former QPR striker made his way down the left before cutting inside, leaving two Cardiff defenders for dead and cutting his shot back across goal into the bottom corner, with David Marshall getting a hand to it but unable to keep it out.
Shortly afterwards, Remy remarkably made it 2-0, after Papiss Cisse saw his effort from a tight angle saved by Marshall, but Remy was well-positioned to get the rebound and once again complete a fine finish, drilling into the far corner with expert precision.
Cardiff didn't take too long to get themselves back in the game with some excellent football and a lovely finish from Peter Odemwingie. The newly-introduced Jordon Mutch was involved in some fine flowing football, producing an excellent touch to put the former West Brom man in space, and he dummied to put both Tim Krul and Mike Williamson on the turf before finishing coolly into the open goal.
Newcastle were briefly all over the place, but as Cardiff pushed for an equaliser, they left themselves exposed at the back, with Marshall once again coming to the rescue to deny Remy a hat-trick.
Cardiff faded from then on, although they came close to scoring when the excellent Mutch marauded through the centre before feeding Craig Bellamy, but the angle was against the Welshman as he failed to lift the ball over Krul from an acute angle.
Mutch had a decent chance to equalise towards the end after producing a fine touch to collect a long ball and put himself clean through, but the advancing Krul denied his effort to lift the ball over him and kept his side in front to earn a vital three points.
Cardiff City: David Marshall; Andrew Taylor, Steven Caulker, Ben Turner, Kevin Theophile-Catherine; Gary Medel, Peter Whittingham, Kim Bo-Hyung (Jordon Mutch - 45'), Aron Gunnarsson, Peter Odemwingie (Nicky Maynard - '81); Fraizer Campbell (Craig Bellamy - '66)
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon, Yohan Cabaye (Hatem Ben Arfa ('86), Cheik Tiote, Moussa Sissoko, Yoann Gouffran, Papiss Cisse, Loic Remy (Jonas Gutierrez - '71)