A fanless computer is desirable for sterile environments such as an operating room. It eliminates the circulation of dust or other particulates that could compromise the sterile environment. Even if a computer is located several feet away from a patient in a sterile environment, the computer's fan can still circulate dust or particulates within the room and affect a patient. Using fanless computers is an additional way to implement infection control and ensure patient safety. Many of Cybernet's medical computers are fanless, and these are recommended for the operating room, ICU, or the ER.
To implement a fanless solution, it all starts with the design of the PC, especially the CPU and the motherboard components. The primary cause of heat buildup in today's PC is the heat generated by the CPU, as a function of the frequency and voltage at which it operates. Therefore, using CPUs that have lower power consumption (10 to 30 watts instead of a typical 95) will generate less heat and eliminate the need for a fan.
Some computers have a sealed front bezel or an "IP" certification. This means that the front of the computer can be cleaned with water or solutions without damaging the internal electronics of the computer. In a healthcare environment, this is one more way to maintain a hygienic and germ-free environment. If a computer has a sealed front bezel, it will have an IP code that describes the degree of protection.
An IP code is a designation established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and consists of the letters "IP" followed by two digits and an optional letter. This code specifies the degrees of protection provided against the introduction of dust, solid objects and water in electrical enclosures (hardware). For IP65, the first digit "6" means that the enclosure is dust tight and offers complete protection against dust. The second digit "5" indicates the enclosure is protected against water being sprayed by a water jet or nozzle at a rate of 12.5 liters per minute from a distance of 3 meters (and a second digit "6" means that it can be sprayed with a power nozzle will have no harmful effect.)