Feasibility study on alternative cooling methods to air-cooling with heat sinks is provided in this paper. The study focuses on cooling of 64-bit microprocessor at 80nm technology node with projected heat dissipation of 200W. An example was presented to illustrate limitation of air-cooling for the 200W microprocessor using an all-Cu heat sink with tall fins. Three alternatives to air-cooling were studied in this work: liquid cooling, two-phase convective flow cooling and refrigeration cooling. Thermodynamic analysis was used to estimate operating conditions and fluid flow rates for each alternative. The information provides a preliminary basis for assessing capabilities and weaknesses among alternatives. Liquid and two-phase cooling simply transfer heat from high to low temperature. In contrast, refrigeration cooling operates as a heat pump, moving heat from low to high temperature. Refrigeration cooling offers capability to cool microprocessor (LSI) chip to temperatures below ambient or freezing. The drawback is more heat must be removed from the system. Liquid cooling operates at close to ambient pressure, while two-phase and refrigeration cooling operate at higher pressures. Challenges to implementation of all three alternatives include availability of low cost, miniature components (pumps or compressors, heat exchanger and condenser), designing for redundancy (or reliability) and ease of installation and field service. In terms of component availability and cost, liquid cooling is preferred choice, followed by two-phase and refrigeration cooling.

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