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The introduction of high powered LEDs has brought extensive challenges with regard to thermal design, from chip level to system level thermal management. With the increased efficiency of modern high power LEDs, it is important that the thermal modeling of an LED application calculate the actual thermal load produced by the component. In the case of high power LEDs; this will differ significantly from the total power consumed. In the following paper the advantage of implementing a detailed and computationally efficient LED model is assessed. The assessment compares the detailed model with thermal resistance models and considers its ability to model transient applications as well as an optimization tool.