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Intel To Cut Lead From Microprocessors

Intel’s future processors, beginning with its entire family of 45 nanometer high-k metal gate processors, are going 100 percent lead-free.

Lead is used in a variety of micro-electronic “packages” and the “bumps” that attach an Intel chip to the packages. Packages wrap around the chip and ultimately connect it to the motherboard. Different types of packages are used for processors targeted at specific market segments, including mobile, desktop and server. Package designs include pin grid array, ball grid array and land grid array, and all are 100 percent lead-free in Intel’s 45nm Hi-k technology generation. In 2008, the company will also transition its 65nm chipset products to 100 percent lead-free technology.

Intel says it has worked for years 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 five percent of lead solder historically found in the first-level interconnect – the solder joint that connects the silicon die to the package substrate – in processor packages, Intel will use a tin/silver/copper alloy.

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