The present work compares the performance of various competing thermal management technologies for the desktop sector. An air-cooled heat sink used for the Intel Pentium 4 Processor is used as the baseline for comparison. Heat sinks based on metal foams, microchannels (with single-phase liquid) and jet impingement (with air and single-phase liquid) are compared based on total heat sink system thermal resistance and heat dissipation capacity. The analysis is carried out under the constraints of a fixed heat sink volume available in a typical desktop, and a fixed ambient air temperature. The comparison of thermal resistances is made under the constraint of the same pumping power as in the baseline heat sink. The maximum heat dissipation possible using a particular heat sink technology is estimated and this can be used to select technologies to meet future thermal challenges as outlined in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). The results show that microchannel and liquid jet impingement cooling provide the greatest heat removal rates under the given constraints. The maximum power dissipation for these cases is almost double that of the baseline air-cooled heat sink. Under the chosen constant value of the junction to heat sink resistance, only modest improvements in heat removal rate are obtained with the microchannel and jet impingement technologies even if the pumping power constraint is relaxed, and a specific pump curve is used instead. The junction to heat sink resistance is significantly higher than the heat sink to ambient resistance, and is the key determinant in the comparisons.

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