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Cubic feet per minute (CFM) is a key metric for air handling systems and other systems where air is transported from one place to another. The CFM rate reflects the passage of air flow over time, according to the performance of a device or appliance for its intended use.
In electronics, CFM is often used to measure performance for workstation fans, server cooling cages, and other cooling systems. A computer's internal fan may be rated for a particular CFM to guarantee specific cooling performance, for example, to handle overclocking and other situations where internal computer temperatures may rise significantly. In some ways, this is similar to the use of CFM in HVAC systems, except that while IT systems use air flow to protect sensitive hardware, HVAC systems use it to reflect performance to heat or cool larger spaces.