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Analysis of Alternative Data Center Cooling Approaches

[+] Author Affiliations
Robert Hannemann

Thermal Form & Function, Inc., Manchester, MA

Herman Chu

Cisco Systems, Inc., San Jose, CA

Paper No. IPACK2007-33176, pp. 743-750; 8 pages
  • ASME 2007 InterPACK Conference collocated with the ASME/JSME 2007 Thermal Engineering Heat Transfer Summer Conference
  • ASME 2007 InterPACK Conference, Volume 1
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, July 8–12, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4277-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3801-3
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME


The average equipment rack in most of today’s high-performance data centers is limited to 1–3 kW with a typical overall heat load density of less than 100 W/ft2 . Near-future racks, however, will dissipate up to 15 kW; in 2–4 years, computer and communications rack heat loads are projected to balloon to 30 kW with heat load densities exceeding 500W/ft2 . Handling these heat loads is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive using traditional rack and data center cooling approaches. Based on an analysis of a realistic data center expansion plan, the current paper compares capital and operating costs associated with three alternative cooling approaches: (1) a business-as-usual approach, (2) employment of cooling augmentation systems based on chilled water and refrigerant-based heat exchangers, and (3) deployment of water- and refrigerant-based device-level cooling for some of the heat load. A major conclusion of the work is that challenging current industry norms can result in significant energy savings while allowing the benefits associated with increased functional density.

Copyright © 2007 by ASME
Topics: Cooling , Data centers



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