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The current trend in microelectronic systems has made thermal management a critical design phase with the increase in the number of transistors per chip and decrease in system footprint. For high end systems, it has become increasingly difficult to rely on air cooling. As a result, liquid cooling has grown in prominence as a method for cooling high density interconnect (HDI) devices. Water cooling in particular has multiple advantages over air cooling as it has a greater heat carrying capacity. Cold plates will play a prominent role in cooling such high end systems. As a way of demonstrating the proposed methodology, the performance of the cold plate previously employed in IBM's Enterprise System/9000 water-cooled mainframes is optimized. By varying multiple design parameters, such as the channel dimensions, a conjugate CFD model is deployed to optimize the thermal resistance for a fixed pumping power. This will serve as an indicator for future studies into the design of robust cold plates for energy-efficient thermal management and packaging of high power single and multi-chip planar modules.