Cooling Off Data

Since the late 1940s, when computers were building-filling, heat-producing, electricity-consuming entities, companies have had a love-hate relationship with them. IBM was among the first to downsize the computer, from house size to room size and then to even smaller. The mainframe of the 1950s and 1960s, still powered by vacuum tubes, continued to be a heat producer, often requiring refrigeration to hold down the temperature.

In operation, the temperature of a computer’s components will rise until the heat transferred to the surroundings is equal to the heat produced by the component. For reliable operation, the temperature must never exceed a