The paper deals with the numerical investigation of natural and mixed convection heat transfer on optimal distribution of five non-identical protruding discrete heat sources (Aluminium) mounted on a substrate (Bakelite) board. The heat sources are subjected to a uniform heat flux of 2000 W/m2. The temperature of heat sources along with the effect of thermal interaction between them is predicted by carrying out numerical simulations using ANSYS Icepak, and the results are validated with the existing experimental findings. The results suggest that mixed convection is a better method for cooling of discrete heat source modules. Also, the temperature of heat sources is a strong function of their shape, size, and positioning on the substrate. Effect of radiation is studied by painting the surface of heat sources by black paint. The results conclude that, under natural convection heat transfer, the temperature of heat sources drops by 6-13% from polished to black painted surface, while mixed convection results in the drop by 3-15%. The numerical predictions are in strong agreement with experimental results. © 2017 Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.