Intel Microprocessors To Be Lead-Free

R&D breakthrough allows for substitute materials in popular processor family, including Core 2, Quad and Xeon

Intel Corporation today announced that its family of 45 nanometer high-k metal gate processors, which includes the Intel Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad and Quad and Xeon processors, are going 100 percent lead-free.

In 2008, the company will also transition its 65nm chipset products to 100 percent lead-free technology.

Due to lead's potential impact to the environment and public health, Intel has worked with its suppliers and other companies in the semiconductor and electronics industry to develop lead-free solutions. In 2002, Intel produced its first lead-free flash memory products. In 2004, the company began shipping products with 95 percent less lead than previous microprocessor and chipset packages.

To replace the remaining 5 percent (about .02 grams) of lead solder, Intel will use a tin/silver/copper alloy. Because of the complex interconnect structure of Intel's advanced silicon technologies, a great deal of engineering work was required to remove the remaining lead in Intel's processor packages and integrate a new solder alloy system.

Engineers developed the assembly manufacturing processes involving the new solder alloys while still demonstrating the high level of performance, quality and reliability expected of Intel components.

Intel has developed a number of environmental best-practices in its factories and operations, such as:

  • Intel transitioned its Intel StrataFlash Cellular Memory packages to halogen-free technology earlier this year. The company is currently evaluating the use of halogen-free flame retardants in its CPU package technologies.
  • In 1996, Intel led an industry-wide agreement to reduce global warming gas emissions in semiconductor manufacturing, and today is working with the European Union (EU) to discuss how the technology sector can help meet the EU's target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
  • Intel is focused on reducing the natural resource use and waste by products of its manufacturing process. In the past 3 years, the company has saved more than 9 billion gallons of fresh water through conservation measures, and reduced its global warming gas emissions by the equivalent of removing 50,000 automobiles from the road.
  • It has reduced hazardous materials in its products and recycles more than 70 percent of its chemical and solid wastes.

Renewable energy is also a priority at Intel, the single-largest purchaser of wind power in Oregon and the largest industrial consumer of renewable energy in New Mexico.

Through Intel's ongoing conversion from 200mm to 300mm wafers, it has been able to reduce water consumption by approximately 40 percent for each square centimeter of silicon produced.

Intel has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its work on Energy Star* and employee commuter programs.

For additional information about Intel's commitment to the environment, visit

Interested in information related to sustainable manufacturing best practices? Bookmark our Making Green page, and check back daily for updated content.
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