updated 5/23/2007 7:49:36 PM ET 2007-05-23T23:49:36

Intel Corp. says it is stripping out the tiny amount of lead still contained in its chips.

Intel has already removed about 95 percent of the toxic metal since 2004 and will eliminate the remainder — 0.02 grams — beginning with a new line of chips that go into production later this year. Tin/lead solder used to connect the processor to the motherboard will be replaced with an alloy comprised instead of tin, silver and copper.

The Santa Clara-based chip maker says its decision is fueled by concerns over lead's environmental and public-health dangers and is part of the company's overall environmental push.

Already, Intel has been using new transistor materials that reduce power leakage while boosting performance. It also says it has been reducing emissions of pollutants and recycling more water and raw materials.

"Intel is taking an aggressive stance toward environmental sustainability," said Nasser Grayeli, Intel's director of assembly test technology development in the Technology and Manufacturing Group.

Rival chip-maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. says it also is working to reduce the amount of lead in its microprocessors. Sunnyvale-based AMD began shipping processors with reduced lead content in 2005.

Environmental issues have become a paramount concern in the semiconductor industry and are not solely public-relations maneuvers.

The costs of powering corporate data centers have become prohibitive, and consumers are demanding longer battery life for their laptops while expecting greater performance. As a result, chip makers have become intensely focused on driving down the power sucked up by their processors while striking a careful balance with performance improvements.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments