Cleaning out our server room, we found two of these:

IBM eServer xSeries dummy heatsink assembly

IBM eServer xSeries dummy heatsink assembly

I can't find any documentation on what they were used for (presumably during shipping or for a multi-socket Xeon board with only 1 CPU installed); can anyone tell me what they are?

2 Answers 2


I'm more familiar with Dell servers that often stipulate special blank covers must be fitted over other blanks that may be filled by parts not present (esp Hard Drive Bays/PSU's) for thermal issues.

It wouldn't surprise me if the people who designed that server did some complicated analysis of airflow, and the results made them decide to supply a whole processor/heatsink blank to ensure a predetermined amount of airflow over the rest of the components.

Edit: Unless they were just trying to make life easy for a newbie who had never seen a 2nd CPU slot on a motherboard and didn't know where to fit the damn thing.

  • The "front" label and arrow did make me think it had something to do with airflow. I think you've nailed it.
    – Andrew
    Jan 19, 2012 at 2:00
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    +1 I've seen this with dell too. They love to have blanks where items are missing to maintain a specific airflow design. It's very fancy fluid dynamics stuff.
    – Jon
    Jan 19, 2012 at 2:17
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    this is exactly right. Same reason you need the blanks on the hard drive bays
    – Jim B
    Jan 19, 2012 at 2:30
  • Airflow is indeed the reason. This has become quite critical as component densities and heat generation have increased. For those who might doubt this I can only suggest you take temperature measurements with and without the dummy/blanking piece. Jan 19, 2012 at 3:54

It's for controlling the airflow - without the blank there would be a huge void space which will generate nearly no resistance to the airflow - and so will take away airflow where it is needed - like the heatsink of the real CPU - possible generating all kinds of thermal problems.

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