The thermal management of existing data centers is centered on forced convection using air as the transport fluid. A large portion of the energy required for typical data centers is used in maintaining reasonable operating temperatures, and many have looked to liquid cooling as a promising solution to increased energy efficiency. The current work is a case study of making this transition for a single computer board. The energy savings potential is quantified and the removal of heat via liquid cooling is characterized from the chip level to the environment. A thermal solution model is developed and validated through experimentation. The experiment consists of a rack-mounted computer board to simulate a server and cold plates attached at several key locations for cooling. Multiple measurements are made to determine the amount of heat removed and power consumed in the process. The results from this study show that liquid-cooling presents an improved thermal solution to data centers and the energy savings potential is large, which improves the power usage effectiveness since power is mostly used in data processing rather than server cooling.

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